Looking at War and the Environment in Kenya

In August 2017 I led a workshop attended by young people, young adults, and allies. The venue, outside the city, felt like an oasis of peace. Each of us was from an area that is undergoing conflict, and we got to discharge on how this conflict and other wars have affected our lives. We also focused on matters of the environment. Below are comments from some of the participants.

Rosenell Nyakinyua: My highlight was sharing what we appreciate about our Kenyan environment. We all appreciate the serenity and good climate. My second highlight was people discharging on the political situation in our country. Many of the participants were from the Mathare Valley slum, the informal settlement in Nairobi County that is most affected by political instability.

Francis Gicheru Njororge: Working on healing from war helped me see the bigger picture in terms of national tension and the civil war in Kenya. I saw how our backgrounds often dictate political choices and affiliation. We can use what we learned to become independent in our thinking and decision-making.

Charles Kyualo: My highlights were healing from war and talking about gender equality and care of the environment. In general, the workshop prepared me to handle the responsibilities in my life.

Whitney Achieng: I learned that keeping my environment clean is my personal responsibility and that neither gender is superior to the other.

Kevin Ajode: I discharged a lot on what happened a few days after the general election and committed to being a responsible and caring citizen—despite tribal, religious, and political differences and different customs.

Daniel Otina: I discharged on my past experiences with law enforcement using excessive force, and on the lives lost.

Cecilia M. Jacobs: I now plan to conserve the environment by planting more trees and minimizing littering. I also plan to empower young people by working on how we have been oppressed by cultural rules.

Donald Wafula Barassa: I got to discharge my fears. My burden has been lessened; I can think more clearly. We youth work together, but our socialization instills competition amongst us. We need to stand up and fight for a better future for our generation and those that follow. I look forward to sharing what I learned with my peers.

Peter Machira Ndirangu: I plan to use what we learned by conserving the environment in my area of residence, giving sessions to my friends who are affected by war, and appreciating other people’s way of living.

Joseph Wambua: I reflected on our country’s tribal wars and how to find solutions. About the challenges women face, we should stop female genital mutilation, and men should start sharing responsibilities equally.

Isaiah Ochieng Mboke: We learned that war is not just physical. It can be mental and emotional.

Kelvin Gitau Karanja: I learned a lot of ways of conserving the environment and was able to understand how we can prevent war. Having this information makes me a better person in the society. I will share it with my friends at home and try to make change in our society.

James Mwangi Mbugo: An efficient way to arrive at progressive solutions is by discharging what has accumulated in our minds. Women face domestic violence and early or forced marriages. Men are not allowed to cry. War has really affected the youth. We had sessions on advocating against tribalism and corruption; I’m looking ahead to practicing this in my family, community, and society.

Janet Kabue

Nairobi, Kenya

Excerpted from Black Re-emergence No. 13

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00