14 Jun June 14, 2014 – Seanet signs the Pledge to Peace
Seanet International has signed the Bruxelles Declaration “Pledge to Peace” on June 2014 during a Pledge to Peace event.
This is a message from Macheru Karuku, Founder/Executive Director, SEANET International.
” This is to let you know that we enjoyed every moment of the Pledge to Peace event.
We are threfore very happy to be associated with such a cause which we already believe in. We also appreciate that we might be able to partner with Associazione Percorsi, an organization that is achieving so much for humankind “.
Photos of the eGardens Park for Creativity, Innovations, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Peace, and of sustainable peace facilation in Daiga Secondary School. The MP for Laikipia East Constituency is sitting on the left hand side of the facilitator.
OUR EFFORTS FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE
By Macheru Karuku.
Monday July 14th, 2014.
1. Problematic Situations
It has been argued that the most proximate cause of Africa conflicts are competition for scarce resources in a context of economic underdevelopment, demographic pressure and divisive political manipulation of ethnic, racial and religious cleavages.
For Kenya I would like to add that the biggest threat to peace is youth joblessness that now stands at more than 65%. This group is vulnerable not only to polarizing political rhetoric but they also become easy prey to recruitment by criminal gangs and even terrorist organizations like Alshabaab.
Our conflict nature is therefore complex, perhaps all pervasive and systemic. At SEANET we believe that it requires a systems and livelihood address, starting with young people when they are still in school.
Our objective is to redirect thousands and even millions of Kenyan and African students from the direction of joblessness, apathy, idleness, hopelessness and crime to that of (self) employment, industry, hope and peace.
Africa has not known peace for decades. From DR Congo to Sudan, South Sudan to Central Africa Republic, Somalia to Egypt, Sierra Leone to Ivory Coast and Libya, the story is the same: conflicts and more conflicts. Malawi and Tanzania don’t want to be outdone. They are courting their Lake Nyasa conflicts and beating drums of war because of a possible oil-find curse.
Kenya has had its fair share of the conflicts. There were political tribal crashes in 1992 and 1997. But the 2008 election crushes were very worse as this led to serious bloodshed, large scale displacements of people, loss of life, property and livelihoods. But even after this was settled, bitter inter-tribal suspicions remain. The International Criminal Court does not seem to help matters. And this is at a time of high youth joblessness, Kenyan soldiers are in Somalia and there is high Alshabaab activity in Kenya. Again poverty is rive and the prevailing drought could lead to large scale famine. Political rhetoric is at all time high.
Our education system is largely theoretical and does not prepare our young people for the life challenges after school.
We believe that the problematic situation we face is multi- caused, multi-directional and complex. SEANET uses a simple systems model to try to address this through schools.
The eGardens Model:
The e Garden model of livelihoods and peace is a multi-disciplinary, systemic and adaptive model of best practices (Bp’s). BP’s are synergistically integrated with creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to have a system that addresses the challenges of need conflicts of water and food in schools and skills for students’ future livelihoods.
Infrastructure+ (capacity building) peace = (water + food + skills) peace = Livelihood skills kit.
We therefore establish water and food infrastructure in schools, capacity- build the teachers, the school boards, students and other key actors in order to have the outputs of young people socialized and acculturized to peace and self employment.
A school eGardens enterprise comprises the following sub-enterprises: water harvesting and storage, (micro) livestock, green house/drip systems, tree/flower nursery, botanical garden, fish ponds, cottage food industry, computers and green energy etc.
Others include capacity building, organizational development and business management including marketing.
The eGardens club in the school is the entry point.
The nexus of eGardens is a website with blogs, emails and eNewsletters etc.
What government has done:
The biggest challenge of the Kenya government remains creation of employment where the education curriculum is theoretical. Ironically universities are cannibalizing youth polytechnics because there is high demand of academic degrees in a make-believe situation that any degree will lead one to prosperity. However some youth friendly initiatives such as the Youth Enterprise Fund have been launched and results are awaited.
ACTIONS BY SEANET
(a) In September 2004, Laikipia Masai Pastoralists invaded properties owned by ranchers of European descent which they said historically belonged to them.
SEANET studied the conflict situation and with another NGO partner made a presentation at the British High Commission in Nairobi in a meeting chaired by the First Secretary.
With their support we held facilitation, conciliation, mediation and negotiation workshops with the parties of conflict and other key actors.
Eventually there was a win-win formula that has made the two to co-exist peacefully to-date.
(b) In 2011, SEANET became one of the five eventual winners of the French – American Social Justice Challenge. Our concept was: Violent Water Conflicts in Kenya’s Ewaso Ngiro River Basin: Fighting back with fair water sharing, metering, water conservation and a win-win ePeace building formula.
(c) I then participated in the winner’s interview. The USD 5,000 won was used to facilitate a peace workshop and also the purchase of water tanks for Irura Women Group.
(d) From November 2005 to April 2006, we trained on organizational development and peace buildings workshops for water resource users’ organizations of 10 rivers and one lake of the Ewaso Ngiro River Basin.
WHAT SEANET IS DOING NOW
We are now establishing an eGardens park of Creativity, Innovations, Entrepreneurship and Peace. The eGardens model as it appears in school will be superimposed here. In addition we shall put up a tented camp of 50 student capacity, a sanitation block of 8 toilets, 8showers, camp fire, cottage food industry, nature trails, water features, tree houses, gazebos, open air birdlife ‘’classroom’’, etc.
About 100 students per week will pass through here and will be trained on food value addition (self) employment skills, inner peace, organizational theory and behavior, internet use etc.
The park will finally be a center for promotion and integration of skills development, peace building, lobbying and advocacy.
The camp is now 30% complete. Please see the attached 3 photos, one for the park, and another for the camp sanitation block and even another for the open air classroom.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SINCE THE SIGNING OF THE PLEDGE TO PEACE.
a) On Monday 7th July, 2014, SEANET made a presentation of sustainable peace to the board of management of Ngenia Secondary School of which this writer is a member of the executive committee.
b) On Friday 11th July, 2014, we made another presentation in Daiga Mixed Secondary School where SEANET co-presenter at London WAF Award is the chairperson of the Board of management .The occasion was about official opening of two laboratories by the Member of Parliament Laikipia East Constituency, Hon. Anthony Mutahi Kimaru. In attendance were about 200 parents, 300 students, 10 principals of neighboring schools and the members of their boards of management.
We facilitated on inner peace so as to able to give peace to others, and also integration of peace in our lives. (See the two photos; one for the students and parents and the other for the MP who is sitting on the left hand side of the facilitator).
Our source of funds is through donors (proposal writing) and online competitions).