Kenya - Capacity Building in Peace Building and Conflict Management: The Case of the Kenya Institute of Administration
Primary thematic focus: Capacity challenges in post-crisis and transitional situations
In a Nutshell:
Between 2008-2009, UNDP supported KIA to run a series of one week courses in Peace Building and Conflict Management. The objective was to train administrative officers and to prepare them to subsequently train staff and community members. The resounding result was that 737 officers were trained in 27 sessions.
The Story of the Peace Building and Conflict Management Course at the Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA) can be traced back to 2007, when a Kenyan delegation comprising of senior government officials visited Ghana on a study tour that was supported by UNDP’s Conflict Prevention and Transformation Project. Already temperatures were rising in the country due to the elections expected later in the year, but nothing at that time could have adequately prepared the country for the ensuing post election violence (PEV). Would the post election violence have occurred with such ferocity if sufficient numbers of Kenya’s police and administrators had been trained in peace building and conflict management? Would they have been able to bring about harmonious relationship and respect for life and property? And, at worst, would they have been able to better deal with PEV trauma?
The objective of the Peace Building and Conflict Management Course was to two-fold:
(i) To train administration officers, who are normally at the forefront in conflict mitigation, in peace building and conflict management methods and practices.
(ii) To prepare the participants to train their staff and community members in peace building and conflict management methods and practices.
The course participants were mainly drawn from the Administration Police and the Provincial Administration (District Officers). They came from all provinces in the country with a good number of the districts worst hit by PEV represented in the courses. The programme was sponsored by UNDP’s Conflict Prevention and Transformation Project. The need to train the officers was foreseen as far back as 2006. However, the need became dire following the 2007/08 post election violence (PEV) experienced in Kenya following the 2007 disputed presidential elections. During the PEV, approximately 1,200 people were reported killed, thousands injured and over 300,000 displaced. Many cases of sexual violence were reported while around 42,000 houses and business were looted or destroyed, with many houses razed to the ground (Report on Post Election Violence in Kenya. UN Human Rights Team. OHCR Kenya Report 19 March 2008). Many Administration Police and District Officers found themselves ill prepared to lead the peace building and conflict management process among deeply polarised ethnic groups. Many were deeply traumatized and had no experience in, or access to, psychological counselling at a time when the population were looking up to them for help.
Training Methodology and Courses Covered:
The Peace Building and Conflict Management training was carried out through lectures, group discussions, sharing experiences, visual aids, plus question and answer sessions. A mix of expert peace building facilitators was drawn from both government and non-government institutions. They ranged from university lecturers to District Commissioners and from ex-police commissioners to psychologists. The topics covered ranged from theoretical to practical aspects of peace building and included conflict analysis tools, community policing, grass roots approaches to peace building and reconciliation, as shown on the table below.
Major Topics Covered in the Peace Building and Conflict Management Courses at KIA.
• Contextual Framework and Context Analysis in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation
• Conflict Analysis Tools
• Context Analysis Tools
• Linking Community Policing to Peace Building
• Role of Government in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation
• Conflict Early Warning
• Role of Civil Society Organizations in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation
• Skills for Intervention
• Women, Youth and Traditional Mechanisms in Conflict Management
• Grass Roots Approaches to Peace Building
• Handling Trauma
• Small Arms and Light Weapons
Results and Critical Factors:
Between June 2008 and December 2009, KIA conducted 27 courses in Peace Building and Conflict Management. The residential courses were organized jointly by the Office of the President - Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security and KIA, and each run for one week. Approximately 30 participants attended each course, with 737 officers trained by December 2009.
Participants shared experiences in handling conflict in the field. In one session, a policeman who was among the first people to arrive at the ill-fated church that was razed to the ground with over 30 people inside, during the 2007/08 PEV, recounted his experience to a tearful class. He mobilized his team to rescue the partly scourged, and would shove aside those who died in the police lorry to give a chance to those likely to survive. He admitted not having gone through any counseling following the traumatic incidents. In another contribution, a policeman discussed the difficulties in disarming local people in areas that are prone to cattle rustling. Further, a policewoman recounted her experience in handling traumatized women who have suffered sexual harassment during conflict. On a brighter note, a District Officer told of how he had successfully utilised the communities’ traditional mechanisms in conflict management by engaging with the local people and appealing to their traditional peace building efforts. Peace was achieved through dialogue as community leaders discussed resource sharing arrangements in the case of scarce water and grazing.
Evaluation and Recommendations:
Each of the courses was evaluated very positively by the participants, with an average rating of over 90% for all aspects of the courses. However, it is apparent that a lot more training is required both at KIA and also at the district and location levels. For KIA and the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, there is need to evaluate the programme at the field level in order to establish the wider benefits of the course, and to determine whether future courses should take the same approach, the same duration, and target the same category of government officers.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Muthoni Mwangi
Title of Primary Contact Person: Senior Lecturer