1200 Kenyan Youth Cover a 600km Walk for Peace

By Fidel Castro

Peace Walk in Nairobi CBD

Over 600 Kilometers were covered, with 12 counties across Kenya visited in 21 days, full of sweat, hunger, thirst, pain, joy, and finally fulfilment. This is the tail of the 1200 peace ambassadors who began their journey on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, preaching peace from Kakamega and culminating it with the final stretch at Sarakasi Dome in Nairobi.

Despite the long trek having a myriad of challenges and a couple of humbling moments, the final stretch was home. The young Kenyas led by a team of 5, took up a rigorous campaign in such a demanding political season. 

According to Yvonne Murugi, one of the members of the Peace Ambassadors Kenya, completion of the peace walk was made possible by the immense support they got from well-wishers and partnering organizations may it be in-kind, financial, or motivation. 

“Completing 600KM huge milestone for all peace champions across the country. Finishing the last mile was made possible by donations, support,  d goodwill from Kenyans. We were highly motivated by the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom,” said Murugi. 

Murugi further stated that with the fast-approaching general elections, a lot is expected from every citizen in the realization of the county having peaceful elections. 

“Peace is an invaluable asset, it can only be guaranteed by everyone playing their role. As peace ambassadors, we are doing our part of spreading the peace word across the nation. As a law-abiding citizen do your part,” added Murugi. 

Speaking during the awarding of the medals at Sarakasi Dome, Dr. Vincent Makokha, Director, Chaplaincy Counselling Psycho-Social Support, Kenya National Police Service assured the youth of their support as they continue spreading the message of peace. 

“As the National Police Service Kenya, we are proud of you. To fellow officers in the service, thank you for supporting young people throughout the entire stretch of the long walk by ensuring their security is taken care of to complete this noble cause,” said Dr. Makokha adding “We appreciate the great gesture from the church as well, your support contributed immensely to ensuring the young people are motivated to complete the tough walk.”   

He also expressed the need for the mainstream media to be present in such campaigns. “My call to the media is to tell the world of the great things the young people are doing. Stop showing the negative aspect only. This is one of the greatest ventures of this year by the youth. The youth is a huge investment in this County,” he lamented. 

Prof Joseph Galgalo, Bishop, Anglican Church of Kenya, lauded the efforts put in place by the young generation in spreading the message of peace, contrary to the norm of young people being commonly known for instigating and causing violence. 

“There are people who are giving hope, standing for peace and saying things can be different, things can be better and they have come together, particularly this group Peace ambassador of Kenya, to do several activities to sensitize the youth not to be used, and not to cause in conflict or violence Peace and unity in their communities,” said Prof. Galgalo. 

While receiving the peace walk flag from the peace ambassadors, Jacob Ouma, Deputy County Commissioner, Starehe reminded the audience of the terrible ordeal Kenyans find themselves in after every five years. The perilous and gory times when tribal conflicts and killings are usually on the rise and the pain of those times. He pleaded with everyone to carry the message of peace to their respective neighborhoods.

“We have a beautiful nation, only a fool can break down and distort such a beauty. We all have a stake in this nation and must protect it jealously.  No one should distance themself from this venture. Let us hold our hands together and push to the end. When we attain a peaceful environment all of us will be at peace. ,” the DCC concluded. 

The March For Peaceful Elections Begins

Over 50 members of Crime Si Poa (CSP) youth networks in Nakuru County today joined 1200 Peace Ambassadors in the Rift Vallley leg for a walk to preach peace ahead of the August 8 general elections in Kenya.

The walk that was flagged off in Kakamega on the 10th of June by Archbishop  Jackson Ole Sapit,  Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, will culminate in a major peace rally at the Sarakasi Dome in Nairobi on the 28th June 2022 after 21 days traversing twelve counties in five major regions with the peace message.  During the walk, the peace ambassadors engaged fellow Kenyans on the need to uphold peace before, during, and after the general election

The Nakuru leg of the walk which attracted large public goodwill was joined in Bahati Constituency by the local MP Hon Kimani Ngunjiri who implored the youth not to be manipulated by politicians during this electioneering period and encouraged them to continue advocating for peace.

According to Alvin Kisara, one of the CSP Nakuru County youth leaders, a clarion call during this peace walk is for the youth and the general public to shun crime, promote unity in diversity and accept divergent opinions, embrace oneness, and ensure peaceful and violence-free elections.

The peace walk aims at sensitizing communities on the need to avoid spaces where political players whip emotions and incite the public against one another for their own political mileage and self-gain. 

“We are excited to take part in the peace walk at a time we have begun seeing youth engaging in politically instigated violence and other forms of crimes in Nakuru and Kenya at large. As Kenyan youth, this is the best time to rewrite the history of the violent elections through leading by example and ensuring we protect and peacefully guard the democratic space in our country,” said Alvin.

“Crime Si Poa youth have been doing groundwork in ensuring young people, engaging in the August General elections whether as voters, campaigners and or as aspirants do not cause violence. Instead, they will be actively involved in violence prevention and cohesion promotion,” concluded Alvin. 

With the 2022 elections days away, a wind of political agitation is sweeping over the country causing tension and having adverse effects on national cohesion as well as the economy, something the peace walk hopes to mitigate. 

The walk is organized by the Peace Ambassadors Integration Organization (PAMBIO) in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and Crime Si Poa.

Youth Call for Safer Cities in Africa

Youth in Kisumu City champion for crime free cities during the commencement of the 9th Africities 2022 Summit yesterday in Kisumu County. Over 100 youth led by the Crime Si Poa leadership team displayed and chanted strong messages calling for African leaders to ensure safer cities for development.

Young people in Africa have been acknowledged as key stakeholders and drivers of safer cities that will steer development, creation of opportunities for the youth and full implementation of United Nations Agenda 2030 & African Union Agenda 2063.

According to Peter Ouko, Executive Director, Crime Si Poa, there is a need for youth engagement in the implementation of government policies and approaches that will help combat crime to ensure safer cities in Kenya and Africa at large.

“Safer cities mean more investment opportunities for those who create jobs. Safer cities definitely translate to more job opportunities for young people. Because investors love predictability, they love security and availability of all the networks that can allow them not only produce the work they do but also ensure workers who work for them are safe and their product can reach the market safely as well,” said Pete adding, “Safer cites means better living and better living means we have to have less crime in our communities.”

Urbanization of African countries and especially Kenya, has seen rapid growth of informal settlements, accompanied by increased levels of crime, violence and lawlessness. People living in the cities face these vices on a daily basis posing a major challenge to the social and economic growth of the cities.

“Instead of young people involving themselves in crime, they should position themselves and take advantage of the opportunities arising in their cities such as the Africities event to make a living out of it,” Said Isaiah Okethi, Kamakowa Jamtaka CBO, Leader.

The Africities Summit 2022 brings together dignitaries and participants from across Africa that seek to strengthen the role of Local and Regional Governments as well as the integration and unity of the continent.

Mathare Youth take to the Streets to Champion for Peace

Youth in Mathare held a Crime and Peace Awareness Campaign Walk to advocate for peace in the area. The campaign, an initiative by Crime Si Poa in partnership with Footprints for Change and Generation Shapers, was in a bid to address the high crime rate in the region.
“Mathare has for a long time been marked as a high-risk area community with cases of theft and robbery with violence on the rise. Young people between the age of 16 to 25 in are being recruited into gangs wreaking havoc in the,” said Ruth Wambui, Crime Si Poa, Community Engagement Officer, adding. “There is therefore need to take action and build cohesion within the community to cultivate peace in the area.”
“Last year a good number of my friends were killed due to crime,” shared Benard a high school student in Mathare who took part in the Peace and Crime awareness campaign. “Crime has hindered many of my friends from achieving their dreams. Majority of them end up using drugs and later engaging in crime. It is time we put a stop to this,” he added.

According to David Lichuma a member of the generation shapers, youth should stand for peace and desire to see a change in Mathare. This was a shared sentiment among many youth members who were at the forefront of the campaign.

“As youth we are saying enough is enough. We must have peace in our hood. We have lost so many of our friends to crime. We don’t want to lose more,” said Lichuma.
The message of peace resonated with majority of the community members, inspiring some to come forward and speak up against crime. Most of the community members called for peace to allow businesses within the area to flourish.
“You don’t have to be a criminal just because you were born in Mathare, there is hope of making a better life for yourself. I was once a criminal, but I reformed, you can also choose to lead a crime-free life,” said Pastor Philip a known community member who encouraged the youth to change their mindsets.

Assistant Chief Mabatini Ward Mugu Njogu, was happy and encouraged to see the youth come together to advocate for peace. He appreciated Crime Si Poa and the partners for coming up with the campaign initiative.

“This peace walk has come at the right time. We urged everyone both the women and men in the community to join the young people in advocating for peace in Mathare,” he concluded.

Youth Group in Kisumu Impacting Children Through Life Skill Training

Economic empowerment of young people, particularly youth at risk is at the core of our organizations’ intervention. Throughout our different programs, we help “teach the youth how to fish” by training them on profitable skills like beading, soap making, and ICT to create a sustainable source of revenue which is a key pathway to crime eradication.

Denzel Pius, a class 6 student from Migos Primary School is one of the children who has benefited from one of our skills training projects. His hope is that the money gotten from beads he makes and sells will support his parents in financing his academics.

Denzel is a representation of all the children who have benefited from the bead-making sessions conducted through Kamakowa Jam Taka CBO, one of the youth partner groups in Kisumu.  

“When we first started the bead-making training over two years ago we were unable to sustain the project bringing it to a halt. As a young CBO, we lacked the finances to fund the project. We had to sort out for help. This is when we approached Crime Si Poa (CSP) who supported us immensely,” said Isaiah Adhiambo, Kamakowa Jam Taka leader. 

According to Bilha Achieng, Kamakowa Jam Taka’s secretary, since the intervention of CSP, last year the group successfully revamped the bead-making sessions, conducting two sessions a week consistently. 

“So far we have trained about 20 children between the ages of 4 and 11 years on bead-making. This has helped young people not only learn skills and earn a living but also avert crime and being in conflict with the law,” said Bilha.

Roselyn Achieng Opiyo a resident of Kamakowa and a mother to one of the beneficiaries could not hold back her gratitude for the impact the project has had on her son. Revealing that, raising a child in the slums is challenging enough, more so for a male child.  The sessions not only keep her son occupied but also made him learn a profitable skill.

“I’m very happy to see my son making these beads and my only hope is that this new skill will eventually pay off financially as it’s much needed,” added Roselyn.  

The group leader further stated that the funds gathered from the project are banked in our account and are mostly used in case of an emergency involving a child or offer support to vulnerable children or help pay for their school fees. 

“ So far we have not raised much. Our goal is to centralize the selling of the beads and look for a bigger market so that we can effectively support the children,” concluded Isaiah.

Boda Boda Riders and Youth  in Rongai Champion for Crime Free Society

Boda Boda Activation Rongai

Boda Boda riders in partnership with young community members in Rongai, Kajiado County held a crime awareness campaign aimed at addressing high crime rates in the region that has largely affected businesses and livelihood of the community members.

Rongai has for a very long time been marked with crimes that range from theft, defilement, rape, snatching, gang groups formation and drug abuse among other crimes involving young people.

“There has been an increase in criminal activities in Ongata Rongai. We receive a lot of cases and reports and it’s a bit worrying. We must come together as a community and address the issue urgently,”  Said Halima Guyo Crime Si Poa, Project Officer, Rongai.

The event supported by Crime Si Poa, brought together members of the community to address ways of achieving a safe and secure environment for all.

“Changing the environment for the youths will impact their lives. This can only be done by involving young people in finding long-term solutions to this menace,” said Arnold Ochieng, Rongai Youth Leader.

According to the youth and the boda boda community, most youth-related crimes stem from the lack of job opportunities. The issue of unemployment continues to be a risk to the vision of attaining a crime-free society.

“The government should look out for the youth and give us jobs or at least create the opportunities. We are ready to do any work,” Allan Ngare, Boda Boda Chairman.

Stephen Kenyatta, a garbage collector in Ongata Rongai encouraged fellow youth not to be selective in their work.  The youth should take personal initiative and create opportunities for themselves.

“Crime Si Poa is the only NGO dealing with youth and crime matters in Ongata Rongai. We really appreciate their support and we are committed to changing our society for the better,” added Arnold Ochieng, Rongai Youth Leader.

The youth have expressed the need for the work Crime Si Poa is doing in the community, especially in this election period. They have also requested for an intervention in the crime-prone areas and interior parts of Rongai. According to the youth, they are ready to work with Crime Si Poa in reducing crime as well as connecting them with job opportunities.

Mentorship moves to the ground after closure of schools

Over 4,000 school-going children in Nakuru, Kisumu, Kajiado, and Nairobi Counties have immensely benefited from mentorship and skills-building programs organized by Crime Si Poa (CSP) team in partnership with Global Fund For Children. The just concluded academic term saw the team create awareness on child protection and empowering them with life skills through interacting with various mentors.

The dedicated team comprising of young community-based counselors trained by professional psychologists mentored children on areas of drug and substance abuse, reproductive health, sex education, assertiveness, behavioral change, and HIV/AIDS.

According to Eric Waweru (famously known as Croach), CSP Community Outreach Officer, the program drew students and pupils from 19 selected primary and secondary schools from across the 4 counties. The students were also trained on soap-making skills in a fun and interactive session that equipped them with entrepreneurship skills.

“This week, we held our last school mentorship sessions of a very productive term, actively imparting the young adults with the knowledge and skills they need to exercise good judgment.  Time really does fly when you’re doing something you love,” said Croach adding “ being a long holiday break we intend to move the program to the community to ensure children are protected and not in conflict with the law.”

Croach further emphasized on the dire need to impart young people with the right information to enable them to make the right decisions. The program is run with the support of the Global Fund for Children, working together in the best interest of children.

“It’s important for children to grow up with the confidence to boldly express their thoughts and beliefs and to have a strong sense of their worth. Assertiveness prepares them to stand up for their rights and fight against various forms of oppression. We thank GFC for the great support,” added Croach.

With the closure of the academic term, the Crime Si Poa team is currently working on how to effectively engage the students while they are on a holiday break.

Kisumu Youth and Law Enforcement Agencies Collaborate In Fostering Peace and Order in the County 

Panel Discussion

Crime Si Poa on Friday, February 18th, 2022 held a community dialogue forum in Kisumu city, on building cohesion between communities and the criminal justice system. 

The forum brought together different community stakeholders, bodaboda riders, and key players in the criminal justice system including the National Police Service-NPS, The office of the Director of public prosecutions – ODPP, Kenya Independent Policing  Oversight- IPOA, Director of Criminal Investigation -DCI, Kenya Judiciary the ministry of interior and coordination of national government.  

The #BuildingVoices conversation handled various issues including access to justice, sexual harassment cases, bribery, crime, police-civil relations, the role the bodaboda community can play in helping the criminal justice system, and how the community at large can curb and maintain law and order. 

The youth used the forum to express their concerns, highlighting the laxity from the police in ensuring that young people are protected, citing that cases of drug abuse and defilement among minors have been on the rise in the area.

“Young people should feel safe growing up in Kisumu County,” said Inspector Beatrice Luvembe. “If as a young person you feel you have not been served well at the station level, you are advised to go to a higher office and seek to be heard and served and if not we have IPOA go there and complain,” she added. “We must collaborate and work together to ensure we attain justice. ” 

Magistrate Lina Akoth warned the audience that “ Despite the behavior of a minor, they are still underage and below the age of 18 years as per the Constitution of Kenya.  Please do not sexually engage or defile minors, it is a crime.”

During the dialogue, the youth also lamented against police harassment and tried to seek tentative solutions to ensure protection by the criminal justice system from rogue police officers. 

Maurine Odumba from the ODPP encouraged the youth to stand for their rights and ensure sufficient evidence to defend their complaints. “If you are wrongfully accused please provide evidence and witnesses. This is what really matters in a court of law,”  she advised.

Inspector Luvembe also discouraged the youth from giving bribes, as it encourages misconduct by rogue police officers. She further revealed that bribery is a two-way traffic and both the giver and the receiver of the bribe have committed a crime.  “ We must end this culture of impunity inculcated in us. Let us all be law-abiding citizens,” she advised. 

Inspector Luvumbe urged for more collaborative efforts between community leaders, youth groups, and the criminal justice system to ensure a safer community and crime free-city.

We hold information that can help fight crime: Kisumu Boda Boda Riders speakout.

Kisumu Boda boda activation

Boda Boda riders commit to work with key players in the criminal justice system in Kisumu County, especially law enforcement agencies, to reveal crucial information that would help curb crime in the region.

Speaking during the Kisumu Criminal Justice Accountability Forum, held on 18th February 2022 at Mama Grace Onyango Social Hall, Kisumu, Boda boda Association Chair Donatus Obul called for collaboration between the association and law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime, which has been worryingly increasing overtime.

“We hold a lot of information that can aid in revealing criminal activities in Kisumu County. We carry these people to different places and in the process learn a lot. Let’s work together and you will be shocked by the kind of high voltage criminal information we would give out as evidence or proof of crime and perpetrators. We know them and where they are hiding from the police”, unveiled Obul.

According to Obul, Boda Boda riders have had a bad reputation labeled against them with a lot of crime linked to the riders. He affirmed that as an association there are ready to work with different stakeholders in restoring their brand.

We are law-abiding citizens and in most cases, entrusted by the majority of you in services such as dropping the young ones to school. We accept that we have a few rotten tomatoes amongst us. We will uproot them adds Obul,  further saying  “We do not allow underage riders in our association. They are the ones most used to commit crime because they are still quite gullible. Parents, please do not allow underage children to be Boda boda riders, it’s against the law”, concluded Obul.

Inspector Beatrice Luvumbe welcomed the invitation by Boda Boda riders to work together with the police noting that such community engagement will enhance the efforts of law enforcement officers, in return creating a crime-free society.

“We all have a responsibility to our safety and security.  We must hold each other accountable to create a lawful community. As a police service, we hugely rely on information coming from the public. This information helps us to fight crime. We are ready and open to work with the riders and young people at large to boost security within Kisumu County.

Earlier in the day Boda Boda raiders and youth from Kondele, Obunga, Nyalenda & Manyatta held a peaceful procession as a commitment to end crime within the city and stand for peace, especially during this election period.