Children Peace Initiative Kenya (CPI Kenya) held their twentieth peace camp the weekend of May 26-30! Twenty peace camps to give children from two warring tribes the opportunity see that it’s possible to have fun together, and even become friends. Twenty peace camps to try and end conflict over livestock and resource scarcity between tribes in counties across Northern Kenya. Twenty peace camps to help create a more peaceful Kenya.
Peace camps are a lot like summer camp—kids sing songs, play games, and spend the night giggling and talking. On their twentieth peace camp, CPI Kenya founders Hilary and Monica worked with children from Ilchamus and Pokot tribes right on the shore of Lake Baringo in Northern Kenya.
Hilary and Monica came alive the moment we arrived at Kiserian Primary School (where this peace camp took place). You can tell that their passion is working with kids to become catalysts for change—it showed in everything they did. From organizing games and song to teaching about the importance of peace between Pokot and Ilchamus communities in Kiserian, Noosukuro, Lomuge, and Chepkalacha villages, Hilary and Monica spent every ounce of their energy everyday interacting with the kids and helping them understand each others’ commonalities.
And their approach is revolutionary! Children are oftentimes left out of important conversations and issues, despite being affected by the outcomes. But Monica and Hilary see children as important stakeholders in their communities and agents for change. And after 4 days of games, meals, singing, and sleepovers, four children had the chance to share what they learned at the closing ceremony. Gideon, a boy from Lomuge, a Pokot village, stood up confidently and determined. He addressed the 100+ students, village chiefs, CPI Kenya staff, and teachers to share that:
“Before the peace camp, we were scared. People were telling us Ilchamus will throw us in the lake or in the cactus. But we were received so well and welcomed. We’ve made friends and have stayed here at the camp together peacefully. When we go back, we’ll tell our families they (Ilchamus) are just like us. We’ll tell them to stop stealing cows.”
Peace camps are hard work, and there is so much that goes on to make everything happen. Everyone puts in their all for the kids because the implications are life-saving. Below are some photos from CPI Kenya’s twentieth peace camp in Kiserian—I hope they convey the few thousand words it would take to rightfully describe how all Monica and Hilary are helping create peace in Northern Kenya.
By Julia Holladay