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UNSUNG PEACE HEROES
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An SMS campaign aiming to recognize the people who worked on peace building in the aftermath of the elections of 2007. Together with Media Focus on Africa, Butterfly Works developed an SMS campaign, which invited to nominate people or organizations that actively worked to promote peace during the difficult times that followed the Kenyan elections of 2007. In December 2007 after the contested elections, violence sparked all over Kenya.
People were able to use SMS, phone and Internet to cast their vote and recognize the work of those who courageously worked for peace among their communities.
The program resulted in more than 500 nominations out of which the jury selected the final winners who received Kshs 10.000 in cash and had their individual stories published in the Standard newspaper by the end of February 2008.
Kamakei Ole Sangiriaki is an 28 years old Maasai who wanted to protect his Kikuyu friend from an angry group of Maasais looking for, enemies. He got beaten up and decided that this could not be accepted. He and his neighbour friends formed a group called ‘Kenyan Initiative – by Kenyans for Kenyans’ consisting of mostly Maasai together with Kikuyu, Kisii and Luo men. They went out at night to follow and find the angry mob. By talking to them they convinced them to stop the violence and killing after one week. As they went around Narok area, other groups copied their example and set up similar ‘peacekeeping groups. As a result, (Freddy claims) the violence ended much sooner in Narok area than in the rest of the country.
Alfred Sakwa Sabatia. He is 23 years and grew up as an orphan. Alfred organized peace talks, composed peace songs, verses and plays, started a peace self help group. He also took food, clothes, and utensils given by friends, churches and organizations to IDP’s in various camps in and around Eastleigh.
Ann Wangari went to Muranga district and found 15 Luo and Kikuyu children, in the age 6 to 15 years in need and took them to Kasarani to take care of them. All children are now in school. She receives support from friends, church and family.
Family Pabari; this Asian family has been active in charity work for twenty years in Kisumu (Ladies in Action) and Nairobi (Sukuma Kenya). During the post election violence they helped Kikuyus, Kisii and Luo’s with food, medicine and farming equipment.
Joel Cheruiyot Sigei is a 48-year-old Kipsigis who hid 18 people, 4 Kisii families, for 2 weeks in his compound in Boreti. He gave them maize from his stock and milk from his two dairy cows. Furthermore, he helped children in an IDP camp by bringing them 40 litres of milk every day.
Maureen Auma Obonyo went out and helped the sick and old people in Kibera. She distributed food from Uzima Foundation and was beaten up three times. She called herself Maureen MKenya. She also organized peace workshops, organized football tournaments and drama festivals.
Paul Omukaya Ayodi took immediate action after the election violence broke loose. He took orphans and people who lost their homes to a school for shelter. He helped a total of 20 Luo, Kikuyu and Luhya families and supports some of them still today in Kawangware.
Esther Wanza Muisu is 42 years old and of the Akamba tribe married to her husband of the Agikuyu tribe. During the period December 28th – January 15th she helped people with food and shelter, a total of 25 people slept overnight at her house.
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