June 15, 2012

CWS DHA appeal: Kenya election preparedness

Kenya Mother and Baby
Kenya Mother and Baby Photo: Stephen H. Padre/ACT International

APPEAL #: 642-O
APPEAL GOAL: $200,000

Situation:

Kenya is preparing for general elections that will be held by the end of March 2013. Kenya's most recent general elections, in December 2007, sparked political violence that spiraled out of control, resulting in deadly conflicts between ethnic communities, killing more than 1,000 people and driving more than 500,000 people from their homes. The violence affected all of Kenya but was heaviest in Rift Valley Province. Nakuru County, a Rift Valley area with an ethnically diverse population of more than 1.6 million people, is widely considered a flash point in 2013 given its history of violence in 2007 and in earlier elections cycles.

CWS and its member communions responded extensively to the humanitarian needs created by the 2007-2008 post-election crisis. Yet the political factors that led to this crisis are still present. Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010, but it is poorly understood by the population at large. The early indications are that politicians will continue to run ethnically divisive campaigns, threatening a return to intercommunal violence.

CWS response:

CWS is supporting five Kenyan partner organizations in a collaborative project to educate voters about the election process and reduce ethnic tensions that can lead to violence. The project aims to provide civic education to more than 300,000 people in Nakuru County through forums and workshops for community members, youth groups, churches and professional associations.

The participating organizations are Nakuru Church Elders Council, National Council of Churches of Kenya, National Christian
Professionals Association, Fellowship of Christian Unions and Nakuru Pastors Fellowships.

The civic education program focuses on good governance, leadership, peace-building and development. It seeks to help voters make their own assessments of candidates according to generally accepted standards of leadership and governance rather than ethnic affiliation. The program's organizers also plan to take this message to a mass audience by participating in talk shows on local radio and TV stations.

The program will be overseen by a committee with an equitable balance of male and female representatives from different regions, ethnic groups and age groups.

Specifics:

The following activities are planned in June and July:

  • Education of civic education trainers
  • Development of civic education study materials
  • Civic education forums for professional groups, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and agronomists

The following activities are planned from July to October:

  • 660 civic education forums involving 132,000 people
  • 880 civic education study sessions involving 88,000 people

How to help:

Financial contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.