• May 19, 2024
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Women in Peace Building Redefining Society

Women in Peace Building Redefining Society

Uasin Gishu,

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

KNA by Angela Silayo

Throughout the 21st century, women have been pivotal in changing the society by taking up leadership positions and advocating for peace as peace builders, roles that were initially reserved for their male counterparts since a woman’s space inclined towards household chores like raising children, cleaning, cooking among others.

Mary Njoki,a peace builder from Uasin Gishu County is an example of the eminent women who have excelled in championing for peace in the region and bringing change to the community.

She started the campaign for peace building in 2009 and is still at it to date with an aim of ensuring that nobody else experiences the challenge of losing a loved one as a result of conflict.

“I take this job as my work out of the passion that I have for it. As a victim of the 2008 post-election violence in which i lost my parents and brother because of tribal clashes, I made a vow to champion for peace and ensure that no one else goes through the same tragedy because they speak a different language from mine,” added Njoki.

She affirmed that at the beginning of her work, she experienced challenges from the public since people could not fathom how a woman would preach peace but as time went by more women came on board preaching peace in their respective communities gradually changing the narrative.

Njoki added that as more women joined the cause she created a group of one hundred women who championed peace and issues that affected women in the society.

She argued that women are more likely to bring around peace in the society as they are updated on events that take place in homes and in the villages.

The peace warrior observed that most people wrongly assume that preaching peace should only be practiced during the electioneering period.

She indicated that the best time to preach peace is when the country is calm and everybody is at peace so that when conflict arises they would have been taught effectively on its importance.

“It is difficult to preach peace when there is an ongoing conflict between warring groups as people may be reacting out of anger and they may not be persuaded easily; the best period to champion for peace is when people are peaceful in their communities.

In the 2022 general election, the majority of people that were elected won their seats because they advocated for peace months during the campaign period,” affirmed Njoki.

The peace advocate commended the daring effort by women in taking up leadership positions in the country as she called it a big step towards creating a platform for their voices to be heard.

She added that initially the majority of the women, especially her age, did not acquire basic education that is required to qualify for some positions.

“Many women lack resources like wealth because it was known that wealth is created and owned by the man, but it is a positive step that most women have started vying for leadership positions letting go patriarchal practices and if we continue bringing more women on board, women will create positions for themselves unlike before,” Njoki alluded. In an effort to advocate for peace in the society, she noted that challenges are inevitable working as a peace builder.

She said that lack of funding hindered effectiveness of peace building as one has to provide the resources individually which sometimes is strenuous.

“The work of a peace builder is entirely a voluntary ONE, nobody gets paid to preach peace. We therefore volunteer so that we get to live peacefully in our homesteads. Sometimes, you find that conflict has risen in a certain area far from your region, but due to lack of resources it becomes hard to get to the ground and bring peace to the warring parties,” she said.

Njoki hence called on the government and non-governmental agencies to support the peace builders in terms of resources so that when conflict arises, they can get to the hotspot area at ease, bringing peace among the conflicted groups.

She called on media practitioners to provide extensive coverage of the success stories and activities carried out by peace warriors so that the general public can be educated about peace building.

During the 2022 Mashujaa Day celebrations, Mary Njoki, was honoured by President Dr. William Ruto for the exemplary work that she and other eminent women had done in contributing to a better society in promoting peace and unity.

“I am happy that some organizations have seen my work and appreciated me for the efforts that I have done. In 2022 I received an honorary award Shujaa as a peace champion in Uasin Gishu, I was happy that we were recognized and our efforts appreciated even by the government,” explained Njoki.

Her efforts in peace building to create change in the society were also acknowledged by the United Nations Women at the Security Council as an example of the many women in the society who are celebrated for positively impacting the society.

Courtesy; KNA

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