The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September of every year. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all people and nations. Held under the theme: “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” this year’s celebrations highlighted the importance of all segments of the society to work together to promote for peace.
In this regard, a consortium of organizations including the Global Peace Foundation, 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 prearrange the following series of build-up activities from 18th September – 20 September in preparation for Peace Day Celebrations on 21st September.
Volunteerism and Community Service:
A cross section of pupils from the Kenya Scouts Association, Youth from the Community and the National Youth Service engaging in a community service at Eastleigh
On 18th September 2015 over 200 youth from Nairobi participated in a clean-up exercise held at Maina Wanjigi Secondary School in Eastleigh. The clean-up which was conducted along Easliegh’s 4th Street as well as inside the school’s compound was graced by Ms. Nonny Gathoni, a renowned TV personality, the National Youth Service and the Nairobi County Council.
This was followed by a tree planting exercise that was graced by the local area administration including a representative of the Area Member of Parliament and the District Commissioner among others. The exercise led to the establishment of a ‘Peace Garden’ inside the school’s compound to mark the 2015 Peace Day celebrations.
GPF Kenya Executive Director address the media during the prayers at Jamia Mosque
Happening concurrently, the National Payers for peace were held at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi. The prayers were mainly to bring together faith leaders from different religions to promote peaceful co-existence and understanding.The weekend of Friday 18th September – Sunday 20th September was dedicated for National Prayers among faiths for cooperation and understanding in the country.
The prayers were graced by an umbrella of religious organizations including 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 Faithfull as well as the Hindus and others.
The peace symposium was held on 19th September 2015, at the Sarakasi Dome in Nairobi. The symposium provided a platform for youth to discuss their role in peace building and national unity. With a participation of over 200 university and high school students from Nairobi, the youth discussed challenges undermining cohesion and integration in the country today and showcased possible ways of addressing this.
Sports for Peace Tournament
Happening on 20th September, 2015, the eve of the International Peace Day Celebrations, a Sports for Peace Tournament was held at the Olympic Grounds in Kibra to promote peaceful coexistence and understanding among youth from diverse backgrounds. The tournament brought together hundreds of young Christians, Muslims and other religions to embrace diversity beyond play as opposed to the obvious competitive matches.
International Peace Day Celebration: 21st September 2015
The climax of weeklong activities was the commemoration of the International Day of Peace on Monday 21st September, 2015 that culminated with the launch of NCIC’s “Amani Club Guidelines” for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions implementing the Amani Clubs.
With a participation of over 1000 youth the celebrations began with a peace walk from Uhuru Park through Haile Selassie Avenue, Mombasa Road avenue, and finally to Nyayo National Stadium Basketball Gymnasium where people converged to mark the day.
Students from different schools taking part in the peace walk from Uhuru Park to Nyayo Stadium during the celebrations.
The occasion was graced by the Cabinet Secretary for Arts, Sports and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario who commended the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and partners for their efforts in promoting peace in schools.
“This is the best time to be a young person in Kenya, there are so many opportunities students who don’t perform well in academics I take this opportunity to invite them to join arts and culture, 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,” Said Dr. Hassan Warion, Cabinet Secretary, Sports Art and Culture.
Speaking during the celebrations the chairman of NCIC Hon. Francis OleKaparo challenged the participants to embrace peace by making peace with themselves first.
“Peace is a journey of thousand miles and it must begin with one step. Great changes start with individuals, the basis of world peace is inner peace in the hearts of individuals, something we can all work for,” reiterated, Hon. Francis Olekaparo.
Mr. Daniel Juma, Executive Director, Global Peace Foundation Kenya, emphasized on the important role of teachers in creating a cohesive society and urged the government to address their issues to enable them go back to school to ensure there is learning.
“ The students who are 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, I request the government to negotiate with teachers so that our students will get their right which is the right to education,” said Mr. Daniel Juma.