"It is better to be together"
Mary is getting stuck in, investigating potential sites for their sand dams
Committed to peace
Mary Kuket has lent a great deal of support to a new peace project in Baringo County, Kenya, where water and food shortages have led to serious conflict between three neighbouring communities in the region.
In the first stage of this project, Excellent Development and Initiatives of Change Kenya are supporting the creation of the Baringo Community Development Organisation (a registered Kenyan Community Based Organisation), and working with them to build three sand dams. Baringo Community Development Organisation is made up from, and represents, the three main tribes in the region: Pokot, Tugen and Ilchamus. Once established, they will lead the continual management of peace initiatives in Baringo County.
It’s great to have Mary on side. Mary is an active member of the Pokot Community. She is also Chairperson of the Tangulbei Women’s Network, an organisation fighting against gender violence.
The Pokot, are a mixed pastoral/agro-pastoral community – heavily dependent on grassland for their livelihood. While the Tugen are agro-pastoral and the Ilchamus a mixed community of farmers, pastoralists and fishermen. All communities are dependent on the land, and water for livestock, drinking, cooking and farming. When water is in desperately short supply, as it is now, it creates serious inter-community tension and conflict.
This year, there has been little rain in Baringo. This is one of the main causes of escalating conflict over the land that remains. The situation is becoming increasingly urgent: with recent reports of attacks and cattle raids that have ended in fatalities.
Bringing people together through sand dams
Mary is keen to introduce sand dams, because she is certain they will benefit all three tribes and help bring peace.
“Sand dams will help with water for animals and grass planting, which reduces the movement of people and livestock” she explains. “We need to reduce the movement of people encroaching on other areas, to reduce conflict.
“Building a sand dam is a way of having food security, mitigating famine and supporting the engine of peace – demonstrating that it is better to be together.”
This is exactly what we are aiming to achieve in Baringo – bringing people together to build sand dams to overcome their common problems of water and food scarcity.
Sand dams will help with water for animals and grass planting, which reduces the movement of people and livestock. We need to reduce the movement of people encroaching on other areas, to reduce conflict.
Mary Kuket, Pokot community, Kenya