Civil Peace Service/Special Initiative on Displacement: Preventing renewed displacement
Title: Civil Peace Service programme: Preventing renewed displacement. Integration of internally displaced persons
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2014 to 2021
Kenya’s history has been shaped by flight and displacement. The creation of European settler colonies and the forced relocation of local populations changed the ethnic map. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) rose steadily. Even today, there are many groups that still lay claim to certain areas and resources. The settlement schemes and land allocation policies adopted by Kenyan governments, which normally gave preference to members of the elite, exacerbated the conflicts. During the violent clashes following the elections in 2007/08, around 600,000 people were forcibly evicted from their homes.
Most IDPs do not have adequate access to land, basic services or secure livelihoods. Several people have found refuge in economically weak regions. Host communities are feeling threatened or fear they will be displaced by the IDPs. The resultant conflicts over already scarce resources are usually between different ethnic groups.
More and more people are being forced to flee because of resource scarcity, climate change and environmental degradation.
IDPs and host communities communicate with each other and mutual trust is bolstered. Both groups support efforts to resolve their conflicts peacefully. This helps them guard against renewed flight and displacement. The groups are aware of the rights of IDPs, which now receive greater attention, above all from local state actors.
In the Rift Valley region, IDPs and host communities tend to have a hostile relationship. The Civil Peace Service (CPS) joins hands with civil society, religious groups and international organisations to support IDPs and host communities, population groups at risk of displacement, and local government structures and leaders. The project works on two levels: several measures are aimed directly at the population in areas where IDPs have been settled. Round tables, organised by trained teams made up of local people, are held every two months. The goal is to create a platform where different population groups can engage in discussion. The platform offers people the opportunity to come together to develop solutions to problems concerning access to water, health care, land and information. In addition, CPS partner organisations offer individual and group counselling for survivors of displacement and violence. The project also supports efforts to deal with trauma. Local and regional representatives from the administration and the government are informed about the situation of IDPs and made aware of their rights. CPS and its partners have developed information materials on the issue of internal flight that contribute to raising awareness and help people guard against renewed displacement. The project is part of the BMZ Special Initiative on ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement, stabilising host regions, supporting refugees’.
In the Rift Valley region, relations between the different ethnic groups have improved. For example, farmers and pastoralists are increasingly resolving their conflicts without violence. In Nakuru, the conflicting parties and the responsible members of the national parliament work together to find solutions to the land conflict prevailing in the region.
It has become easier to share information between the population and government bodies, and between elders and district commissioners in Banita and Majani Mingi. Marginalised groups are consequently benefiting from public services: single mothers, widows and people with disabilities now have the information they require to apply for state support.
As people take the initiative themselves and start to be proactive, the widespread feelings of despair and impotence are mitigated, which helps weaken some of the conflict momentum. This is confirmed by the participants in the round tables and the training programmes.