Women Groups in Peace and Security.Mathare Informal Settlement, 2008 Election Violence.



Women groups have been identified as an important tool in peace building in many countries experiencing conflict. In Kenya, women groups have been reported to facilitate peace in many regions including Samburu and Trans Nzoia counties. While Mathare informal settlement is one of the biggest slums in Kenya, and among the most prone to violence, in addition to having been highly affected by the 2008 post election violence, there appears to be very few empirical studies carried out on the same. This study, therefore, aimed at filling in this knowledge gap by carrying out the current study on the role of women groups in peace building in Mathare informal settlement. The study targeted women groups involved in peace building in Mathare informal settlement. The study used descriptive research design case study research design and while data was collected through the use of questionnaires, scheduled questions, documented information from the women groups’ data base and focus group discussions. A total of 30 respondents were targeted. Data was analyzed through the use of SPSS package. Findings indicated that women groups in Mathare used various strategies to initiate peace including peace forums, peace committees, counseling, fundraising, women leadership, open forums and exchange programs. The study also found that women peace groups faced challenges that hampered their effectiveness and the extent of involvement including lack of access to information, gender stereotyping, lack of involvement in decision making and political interference. However, the peace initiatives have managed to build relationships and unite different ethnic groups and also improve lives of those affected by post election violence. The study recommends that government, NGOs and other interested bodies be more involved through training and dissemination of information on women and peace building. The government should also take action against groups which exploit the residents of Mathare in the name of peace building.

Key Words: Peacebuilding, conflict, women groups, informal settlements,violence,elections

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