On December 27, 2007, Kenya held a national election. On December 29, as it appeared that the counting of the ballots was being manipulated, “hot spots” in the country erupted in protest. Two months later, 1,133 people had been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. Kenyans were deeply shocked by the events unfolding around them.
On January 14, the leaders of FUM, FWCC, Friends Church Kenya, USFW, Quaker Men and Quaker youth met to consider our response. A National Quaker Peace Conference was hastily called for the weekend of January 24–27. Sixty-two Friends leaders gathered in Kakamega, representing every yearly meeting, all the Friends “umbrella” organizations and all of the Quaker-related peace, mission and development organizations working in Kenya. An appointed Coordinating Committee named itself the Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT), intentionally relating themselves with the Christian Peacemaker Teams and Friends Peace Teams.
The first three months of FCPT’s work were focused on humanitarian aid and crisis intervention. The all-volunteer Peace Team quickly taught itself how to conduct large-scale feeding programs for those displaced from their homes, while organizing spiritual counseling, medical camps and trauma healing workshops. After the political situation stabilized, FCPT mediated the successful return of 4,000 displaced families and provided numerous workshops for healing, reconciliation and violence prevention.
It is now two years since the post-election violence, and the Team continues to carry out workshops for prevention of violence and reconciliation of hostile communities. Intensive work is also underway, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, George Fox University, United Society of Friends Women International and individuals, on a peace curriculum for use in schools at both primary and secondary levels.
“Peace in a Community” — Web site for Kenya peace curriculum