Kenya (FFH/MNN) –- Leading up to today's first Kenyan general election since 2007, Food for the Hungry (FH) is promoting peace messages through print, radio, and in-person communication.
As a member of Integral Alliance, FH is carrying out this work with partner organizations to help protect vulnerable communities with which FH works. Messages are directed to reach “hot spot” areas, both rural and urban, where the most violence occurred in 2007. They emphasize the need for individuals, families, and communities to respect themselves, their neighbors, and their neighbors’ property.
On Sunday, February 17, FH through Integral Alliance hosted a peace rally with a procession in Kenya’s Dandora slums. Dandora is an area considered to be one of Nairobi’s most volatile areas in 2007. The event included a vehicle broadcasting widely popular tunes and was led by a giant mascot, dancers, and entertainers.
During the event, residents were encouraged to sign a large canvas hung on the side of a minibus which read, “Sign Here for Peace.” Speakers proclaimed memorable sayings such as, “Let us be in peace, not pieces.” A discussion on diversity took place, emphasizing that violence is not a solution. A former resident accompanied the procession, narrating his personal experiences during the 2007 post-election violence.
He said, “Here is where I hid when trying to escape.” Pointing in another direction, he said, “That is where I waited for my family.” He also showed a spot where he witnessed a murder.
T-shirts with the peace message “Nimeamua Ni Amani” (I Have Resolved its Peace!) have been given to targeted community members who come up with creative peace messages in their presentations.
Peter Howard, FH Director of Emergency Response, said, “The Kenyan government, Food for the Hungry, and many other organizations are making every effort possible to mitigate the type of violence and destruction that occurred in 2007.
"Peaceful elections not only save lives, they strengthen Kenya to build a hopeful future and shine as an example worldwide.”
FH responded to the 2007 election violence by providing displaced people with food and essential household items (more than 500,000 were displaced). FH has operated in Kenya since 1976 with programs focused on food security, water and sanitation, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, education, and child development.
Currently, FH/Kenya is active in Marsabit, Moyale, Isiolo, and Meru Districts, in addition to urban activities in Nairobi.