Kenya: Working to rebuild lives after post-election violence
More than 12,000 people are back on their feet, earning incomes from selling farm produce and small businesses, as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Kenya’s 2007 post-election violence.
Over the past few years, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been working with communities and the authorities in the western Rift Valley region, a previous conflict flashpoint, to improve incomes at the household level and reduce tensions over scarce resources.
- The project aims to restore and expand livelihood opportunities for communities badly hit by post-election violence.
- The project is funded by the Government of Japan for a total budget of US$ 694,044.12.
- It helps small businesses to recover by providing people with basic entrepreneurial knowledge, technical skills and capital.
At least 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced from their homes in mass violence following the disputed presidential poll.
As part of the reintegration process, thousands of formerly displaced people received seeds to grow food for household consumption and sell what is left over for profit. 1,200 people trained in fish farming, and some 500 unemployed women and youth learned to run their own small businesses, making furniture and running grocery shops and pre-cooked food stalls.
Through this Japan-supported Post-Elections Livelihoods Recovery Project, UNDP also helped to clean and rehabilitate a dried-out dam, improving water access for 1,600 people who use it for their domestic and agricultural needs, and to support more than 1,000 heads of cattle.
With a capacity of approximately 550,000 cubic meters, the Ray Farm dam now provides water throughout the year, helping to bring stability to the area.
Local chief Francis Kirwa says the dam has also contributed to new opportunities for community members. “Youth who were used to perpetrate the violence during elections are now kept busy in the fields doing small-scale farming and taking care of animals,” Kirwa says.
To help reduce the chances of future conflicts from escalating, UNDP worked with some 100 people from different ethnic groups in the area to improve their negotiation skills and monitor potential incidents, based on which they engage community leaders and the local police to intervene.