Promoting Armed Violence Reduction

2016 | Kenya

Communities in North-Western Kenya suffer from high levels of illicit firearms and insecurity. Major causes of conflict among these communities include intensified cattle rustling, land/boundary issues, competition over resources, and inadequate policing and state security arrangements. The demand for small arms within the area is fed by this complex set of factors. A "gun culture" has developed that associates arms ownership with security, livelihood, and status.

Handicap International has been involved in humanitarian and development work throughout Kenya since 1992 and has experience in projects on conflict resolution and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the region. In this project, Handicap International is partnering with two experienced Kenyan organisations: the Justice and Peace Centre and the Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya.

Following two ifa-funded projects in 2014 and 2015, the project continues to aim at improving community safety perceptions and enhancing dialogue between community and government stakeholders on issues of small arms and SGBV in West Pokot, Trans Nzoia and Turkana counties. Ten additional Community Peace Representatives are being selected and trained. Their role is to educate communities on violence prevention and to identify and report armed conflict incidents at community level to relevant agencies. The project facilitates regular meetings between community members and government structures (particularly the newly-established County Security Committees). The implementation of five Community Safety Plans in most affected areas and their integration in county plans is intended. About 30 intra and inter-ethnic dialogue forums will be held that will focus, inter alia, on conflict mediation and conflict transformation. With the aim of constructively changing the attitudes and behaviors of the communities, small arms and SGBV awareness and safety messages will be provided. In 2016, the project will roll out an Early Warning System which will provide additional, real-time information to respond to potential security issues in the three counties.