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Peace from Within by Dr Karambu Ringera PDF Print E-mail

For peaceful development to spread, local people must be able to take charge of their own approaches. Dr Karambu Ringera discusses how her organisation supports this work in communities around Kenya.

This article was originally published on Insight on Conflict. Insight on Conflict is Peace Direct's online resource for local peacebuilding and human rights in conflict areas.


In a world which believes deeply in the idea of war as a means of building peace, it is difficult to imagine alternative ways of doing so. But it is clear to me that peace and change come when people begin talking to one another. At International Peace Initiatives, we do not see peace as merely the absence of war, but as a situation in which people can meet all their basic needs.


Our approach to peace building is therefore hands on, inclusive, participatory, and holistic, linking many aspects of people’s lives where communities meet. The beginning point of this intricate and complex dance is within the individual. Transformation and change must take place in every person, allowing peace to be shared and spread. Then families, communities and nations can be changed.

Our model and transformative work, with marginalized people in both rural and conflict settings, is based on this philosophy. We work to support and fund initiatives that mitigate the effects of war, disease, poverty, and discrimination. IPI houses and provides for orphans and vulnerable children, teaches peace education, and supports African grassroots organisations and community leaders to create initiatives that lead to self-empowerment, self-reliance and sustainability. We work in particular with enable groups to strengthen their voice in discussion around social change and development.

Contemporary peace and development interventions in Kenya often accord value to ‘protectionist’ and ‘dominating’ approaches to initiatives that address poverty, war, and disease. They rely on the continued input of others. The consequence of such interventions is that they create dependency and are not sustainable. They deny marginalized groups the ability to voice their needs and fail to inspire innovative, relevant, home-grown solutions, and hence their independence.

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We believe in supporting a new breed of peace and development conscious agents, who wish to see marginalised people take charge of their lives. By listening to people and inviting them to be critical and innovative creators of their futures, the opportunity for real peace to develop opens up.

We have therefore set up a number of projects in what we call the Network of Enterprises. This is an effort to create a planned, sustainable network of vocational skills development, organic agricultural products and cottage industries to support IPI’s programs. By setting up enterprises that are interdependent and that take advantage of community resources and needs, IPI’s children’s homes and the groups we work with will be largely self-sustaining. Our participatory and self-reflexive approach for child-residents and women is grounded in our “3Es” approach: education, enterprise and empowerment, and helps instill life skills that lead to inter-dependence, self-esteem and self-reliance.

The Institute for Nonviolence and Peace (INPEACE) is another IPI programme. It funds special projects that promote peace within individuals and across communities. We use a peace circle method that brings groups together to speak with each other in times of conflict.

Between 2008 and 2014, INPEACE ran initiatives in the UK, India and South Africa. In Kenya, we have instituted peace circles for women, men and young people. In partnership with the Satyana Institute, we facilitated gender healing and reconciliation workshops in Kenya, India and South Africa; with UN Women, we have facilitated training workshops for peace committees and monitors in Kenya in 2013. We also partner with local high school and college students to hold peace dialogues and to brainstorm ways to sustain peace in our individual lives. We believe peace must begin within each of us before we can help spread it to others.

Peace building in Kenya is a complicated and delicate issue. We firmly believe that the best course is to listen to people on the ground, and enable to them to put their approaches first. At the end of our work, if people can look back and see what they have achieved, then there will be a chance for Kenya’s peaceful development to take off.


This article was originally published on Insight on Conflict. Insight on Conflict is Peace Direct's online resource for local peace building and human rights in conflict areas.


 
REAL Magazine interviews Dr. Karambu Ringera PDF Print E-mail

Please take a moment to check out Dr. Karambu Ringera's interview with REAL Magazine.  The page has a link to places where you can pick up a hard copy of the magazine as well.  Read more...HERE


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Tiriji: Reviving a culture of sustainable living through permaculture systems PDF Print E-mail


Tiriji is an eco-project geared towards reviving a community's traditional ways of food production to enhance sustainable agriculture through care of our land, conservation of our environment, and empowerment of the local people to rebuild the broken relationships. These skills are needed to kickback the impact of climate change, build a sustainable food system, and create resilient communities.

We are planning to build a holistic peace retreat, training, and conference center for locals, visitors, and volunteers to come learn about sustainable farming practices. Our goal is to model 'simple luxury' through a high quality, low impact lifestyle and thus contribute to sustainable peace and development in our communities. The retreat center will include classrooms, a conference hall, a kitchen, an information space, a demonstration farm, and a communal area. The center will model simple living through use of solar energy, eco-toilets, organic farming, eco-friendly building practices, and other techniques for preserving the ecosystem.

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(Pictured above: An eco-hut built using locally sourced materials and traditional methods of construction)

Why this project?

Deforestation, chemicalized agriculture, and poor farming techniques have degraded the land so that we can no longer produce food without using hybrid (GMO) seeds. These practices are not only depleting the forests and the land, but also causing health challenges such as increased cancer incidence and other chronic health issues.


In our community, monoculture practices have affected food production diversity and have created a community that largely depends on maize and beans. Ultimately, this lack of variety, along with climate change, have led to food insecurity among the local people. The Tiriji eco-project will enable these people to dialogue about ways to create food sovereignty within their communities. The project will also facilitate the introduction of local varieties of different cereals and other food crops that have been forgotten, but can be grown using permaculture techniques. 

Overall, we hope to inspire the next generation to embrace permaculture as a way of life.

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(Pictured above: Teaching the next generation about permaculture)

Your funding will go towards:

  • About $2000 will be used to purchase the rain harvesting system: piping, water tanks, and gutters
  • About $650 will be used to purchase tools (hoes (fork jembe), machetes, shovels (spades), and rakes)
  • About $350 will be used to purchase seeds
  • About $1651 will be the annual wage for one local who will be maintaining and developing the land, planting the gardens, and creating the food forest
  • About $800 will be used to bring in a local permaculture expert who will provide feedback on the existing model farm, implement an initial on-site community training, and work with the local people to demonstrate how a permaculture project is developed and maintained. This amount includes both the training fee and living expenses of hosting the expert.

Become our partner!!

Tiriji is a project of International Peace Initiatives (IPI:www.ipeacei.org), with the aim to create sustainability for the Kithoka Amani Children’s Community Home (KACH), an orphanage that supports children affected/infected or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and/or poverty. We engage and partner with community members to imagine a sustainable world where there is enough for everyone’s needs now and for generations to come.
If you feel inspired to support us ‘birth’ this space for enabling sustainable development and peace in our lives, empowering children and the community, and providing a model of an ‘edible’ eco-cultural and peace building space to enhance our environment, feel free to contact Dr. Karambu Ringera at ringerambu@yahoo.com or 254 713 937 227.

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