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UNV_Kenya Newsletter September 2012

UNV_Kenya Newsletter September 2012

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UNV Kenya newsletter, September 2012, devoted to peace
UNV Kenya newsletter, September 2012, devoted to peace

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Published by: United Nations Volunteers on Oct 10, 2012
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10/25/2012

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UNV
 
Kenya
 
VOLUNTEERING FOR CHANGE
A newsletter of the United NationsVolunteers Programmein Kenya| September 2012
INSIDE
:: UNV Supports Trainingfor Students onVolunteering for Peace:: UN Volunteer EdwinKilong Brokers Peace inMt. Elgon:: Investing inLivelihoods
UN
Volunteer Lizzy Otieno
Cover Photo ©UNV UN Volunteer EdwinKilong (left) welcomes Sirisia MP and  Minister for Trade Hon. Moses Wetangulato the Bungoma County Peace Forum in August 2012. With them is Assistant Lands Minister and Bumula MP, Hon. BifwoliWakoli.
 
 
Kenya faced
a dark period of post-election violence in2007/2008. Severalinitiatives to support peace andlivelihoodsrestoration werestarted in the wakeof this period, manyof them involving UNVolunteers. In therun-up to the next elections,sensitization on apeaceful transitionhas taken on evengreater meaning.
UNV Supports Students’ Volunteer Training 
 
UNV teamed up this September with Uwezo Youth Trust to facilitate training of universitystudents in volunteerism as part of the
Kura Kwa Amani
project.The brainchild of Kenyatta University student Kevin Kimani,
Kura Kwa Amani
(Swahili
for “A Peaceful Vote”)
seeks to recruit hundreds of students from both public and privateuniversities to serve as volunteer peace ambassadors in their universities and communities.Kevin points out that he was motivated by a desire to see students do something to preventa return to the post-election violence witnessed in 2007/2008:
 At the end of the day, we as students are the ones who are used to perpetuate violence,and we are the ones who can make a change. This campaign and training is to help all of 
us appreciate how volunteering for peace can make a real difference this time round,”
saysKevin, who is part of the management team at Uwezo Youth Trust.To ensure that students got exposed to best practice, the Trust asked UNV to facilitatetraining in basic principles of volunteerism as well as discussions on volunteering forpeace. The first training took place at Kenyatta University on September 14, facilitated by
UNV’
s George Oloo. As part of the discussions with the students, UNV Peace MonitorJeremiah Mzee also got to share his experiences and the challenges faced in volunteeringfor peace. About 200 students from various universities in Nairobi attended, many of themciting a desire to make a meaningful volunteer contribution to peaceful elections.The second leg of the training took place at Moi University in Eldoret, with about 100students drawn from universities on the Western part of the country. The third and finaltraining took place in Mombasa at the end of September, with over 200 students involved,representing 6 different campuses based in the coastal city.At the end of the trainings, almost all the universities in the country had been covered,either through their main centers or regional campuses.
Photo © Uwezo Youth Trust Students from various universities in Nairobi pose on the sidelines of training onvolunteerism at Kenyatta University
.
 
 
UN Volunteer
Rev. EdwinKilong
hasserved as aPeace Monitorin Mt. Elgonregion since2009, helping tobroker peace ina region that was once aconflict hot-spot 
 
UN Volunteer Edwin Kilong Brokers Peace In Mt. Elgon
 
Solving inter-clan conflicts, forestalling violence and insisting on harmonious living among traditionally at-warcommunities is not everyone
s cup of tea. Not so for the Reverend Edwin Kilong, a UN Volunteer Peace Monitorserving the Mt. Elgon region. Rev. Kilong joined UNV in the wake of the 2007/2008 post-election violence to helpin easing tensions in the volatile area, and has not looked back since, crisscrossing the region preaching peace.Working with the district peace committee, Kilong has traversed the expansive region, being involved in peaceinitiatives reconciling the Teso, Bukusu and Sabaot communities, as well as intervening in cross-border conflictbetween Kenyans and Ugandans. Most of the conflict experienced in these areas stems from deep-seated issues thathave sometimes lasted generations, and Kilong finds particular inspiration in seeing these solved to ensure peacefulco-existence.His latest efforts have turned his attention towards Bungoma County, where trouble has recently flared between theSabaot and Bukusu communities. On the sidelines of a second reconciliation meeting in Bungoma town betweenthe two communities from Cheptais and Sirisia districts, Kilong explains the situation:George gives his assessment of the student trainings:
“These sessions with students are illustrating two very important points for me…one is that young people are
 passionate about not being bystanders anymore in meeting some of these societal challenges head-on, and two,
 youth volunteerism is a real means to seeing meaningful impact in communities on pretty much any issue, and 
 particularly, peace and development.”
 
After the trainings, the students will organize activities and forums to help them share the message of peace withtheir fellow students at both university and national level. This kind of initiative could very well be the means toensure community-wide participation in ensuring peaceful elections.UNV
s participation in this initiative was informed by its mandate on youth volunteerism and the desire toencourage and invest in student volunteerism activities. In November this year, the second annual StudentsSymposium on Volunteerism will be held at the University of Nairobi, once again to encourage student volunteervoices in meeting peace and development challenges.

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