Held under the theme: “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” this year’s celebrations of the International Day of Peace highlighted the importance of all segments of the society to work together to promote for peace.
In this regard, Global Peace Foundation through it’s youth program – Global Peace Youth – in collaboration with a consortium of organizations that include: the National Cohesion and Integration Committee (NCIC), National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management (NSC), Kenya Scouts Association (KSA) and Peace Ambassadors Kenya among others came together to carry out the following series of buil-up activities from 18th September – 20 September in preparation for Peace Day Celebrations on 21st September.
Volunteerism and Community Service: 18th September 2015, in its bid to promote volunteerism as a platform for peace among the youth and in communities, Global Peace Youth engaged over 200 youth from Nairobi in a clean-up exercise held at Maina Wanjigi Secondary School in Eastleigh. The clean-up which was conducted inside and outside the school’s compound saw the participation of renowned TV personality, Ms. Nonny Gathoni, who formerly hosted the ‘Wedding Show’ program on Citizen TV, the National Youth Service and the Nairobi County Council.
The clean-up was followed up by a tree planting exercise that led to the establishment of a ‘Peace Garden’ inside the school compound. This was graced by the area administration that included a representative of the Area Member of Parliament, the District Commissioner, the Area Chief among others who planted trees to mark the Peace Day celebrations.
On the same day, the Global Peace Foundation led by the Executive Director Mr. Daniel Juma participated in the National Payers for peace held at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi. This was the first time ever in Kenyan history that both Muslims and Non-Muslims converged inside a Mosque for prayers. The prayers brought together interfaith leaders to promote peaceful co-existence especially this time when the country is going through a security crisis that has divided the country along religious, political and ethnic lines. The leaders dedicated the weekend of Friday 18th Se September – Sunday 20th September for National Prayers for Peace. A request was made for all believers to visit their respective places of worship and pray for peaceful co-existence in the country.
The prayers were graced by the umbrella religious organizations such as the Inter Religious Council (IRC), the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (SUPKEM), National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), among others. Communities included; the Muslim community, the Seventh Day Adventists community, other Christian faithful as well as the Hindus among others.
Peace Symposium: 19th September 2015, over 200 university and high school students assembled at the Sarakasi Dome for a peace symposium which was moderated by Mr. Arthur Wesonga, the Director of Youth at Global Peace Foundation Kenya. The purpose of the symposium was to provide a platform for the young people to showcase and discuss their creative ways of addressing the major challenges that hinder peaceful co-existence in the country.
During the symposium the students interrogated the cohesion and integration challenges in their respective institutions and its resultant effect on their academics. Further, they explored the possible solutions to these challenges by bringing on board the contribution of other stakeholders towards the solutions.
The students however, committed to nurture a culture of peace and harmonious coexistence in their respective institutions.
Sports for Peace Tournament: 20th September, 2015 A Sports for Peace Tournament was held at the Olympic Grounds in Kibra for Christians, Muslims, Hindus and other religions to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. The sport was not played competitively; but rather, it embraced players from different informal settlements combining to form one team.
2015 International Peace Day: 21st September 2015 was the peak of week-long activities as the participants marked the International Day Celebrations of Peace held at the Nyayo Stadium Basketball Gymnasium. This however began with all partners and participants assembling at Uhuru Park for a Peace Walk that was flagged off by Hassan Mohammed, CEO, National Cohesion and Integration
Commission. The procession passed through Haile Selassie Avenue, Mombasa Road, and finally to Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium.
Among the people who graced the event include; Dr. Hassan Wario, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, Mr representing Dr. Belio K. Kipsang, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ms. Nardos Bekele Thomas, Resident coordinator, United Nations Office Nairobi, Dr. Francis Xavier Olekaparo, Chairperson, NCIC, Mr. Daniel Juma, the Executive Director, Global Peace Foundation Kenya, Mr. Hassan Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Marion Van Dijck, Managing Director, Sarakasi Trust, Ms. Irene Wanyoike, Commissioner, NCIC, Prof. Gitilie Naituli, Commissioner NCIC, Linda Ochiel, Commissioner NCIC and Mr. Kilian Nyambu, Assistant Director, Civic Education and Advocacy at NCIC among others
Various presentations on peace were made with young people showcasing their talents through music and dance.
Speaking at the event the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts, Dr. Hassan Wario was pleased by the role that NCIC is playing in promoting peace in schools and pledged to support the program.
“This is the best time to be a young person in Kenya, there are so many opportunities” Says Dr. Wario, “students who don’t perform well in academics I take this opportunity to invite them to join arts and culture,” he continues, “the government is in the process of constructing the best and most equipped National Theatre in the country, any school implementing the Amani Clubs program is free to use our facility,” concludes
“Peace is a journey of thousand miles and it must begin with one step” said Dr. Olekaparo “Great changes start with individuals, the basis of world peace is inner peace in the hearts of individuals, something we can all work for” he added.
Due to the ongoing strike in Kenya Mr. Daniel Juma emphasized the importance of teachers going back to school to ensure there is the continuity of learning.
“ These students gathered here today are the leaders of tomorrow, they need to be in school in order to get the skills needed for the 21st Century world” he said “ I request the government to negotiate with teachers so that our students will get their right which is the right to education” he concluded
The day culminated with the launch of the Amani Club’s guidelines which is a reference document that will be used in training and capacity building for the patrons and members of Amani Clubs in educational institutions. Further, it will provide, among others, club activities at the school level. Amani clubs is a program being implemented by NCIC in primary and secondary schools. The clubs are a front line initiative aimed at enhancing appreciation of diversity among youth and learners in institutions.