In November 2022, during delicate peace negotiations between the Turkana and Dassenach native tribes in the cross-border region of Ethiopia and Kenya, Todonyang, a heart- wrenching incident unfolded. Mr. Ariing’ole, a peace Ambassador from the Dassenach community, who had married a Turkana woman from Kokuro, had accompanied his Turkana friends from Sies to Todonyang, when he was tragically shot and killed.
Fearing potential retaliation from the grieving Dassenach community, the SEEK II project swiftly organized a rapid response meeting at Turmi for both the Turkana and Dassenach boundary partners, which included women and youth. These boundary partners are community-based catalysts for positive change, possessing the local influence needed to effectively mitigate conflict and promote peace at the grassroots level.
During this gathering, the reformed Turkana warriors made a remarkable commitment – they pledged to contribute livestock and compensate Ariing’ole’s bereaved family.
This gesture was communicated to the Dassenach community and after extensive dialogue, they not only accepted the compensation but also promised not to seek vengeance. Such displays of empathy and reconciliation are rather rare in their communities, where conflicts are often met with further conflicts, inadvertently perpetuating a cycle of violence and harm.
In August 2023, the Turkana community, led by local youth and women, rallied and contributed 16sheep and goats, which were then ceremoniously handed over to Ariingóle’s family. The elders and government administrations from both Dassenach and Turkana attended the meeting and gave their blessings upon this act of reconciliation.
Despite delays caused by severe drought that killed large numbers of livestock in Southwest Ethiopia and Northwest Kenya, the Dassenach community remained calm and patient. Their trust in the boundary partners, who had been planning and implementing the peace activities under the SEEK II project, helped to sustain their resolve.
Mr. Lokoumoe, a Dassenach elder from Sies, eloquently captures the essence of their collective efforts with these words:
‘‘Let’s make unity for a reason, to make peace and live peacefully forever. When we have a reason for peace, we will then outlive the reason for conflict.’’
These profound sentiments reflect the shares commitment of both Turkana and Dassenach communities to establish lasting peace.
More about the Project:
The SEEK II project, financed by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, has implemented several community-supported peace initiatives in cross border regions.
It has also enhanced the capacity for peace building among diverse boundary partner groups. The project started in April 2021 and is being implemented by Pact Global and Strategies for Northern Development along the Southwest Ethiopia and Northwest Kenya Border lands.
This story illustrates how these boundary partner groups are putting their acquired skills under the SEEK II project to work in preventing and mitigating conflict in their villages, embodying the spirit of unity and reconciliation.
Boundary Partners are grass-roots agents of positive change that make up vital stakeholders SEEK II closely worked with. These individuals possess on the ground influence, playing a pivotal role in conflict reduction and peacebuilding at the community level. They represent They represent influential leaders encompassing youth, women, religious leaders, and traditional leaders, councils of elders, peace committees, traders, as well as local government representatives.
- Publication date
- 21 September 2023
- Directorate-General for International Partnerships
- Region and Country
- Horn of AfricaEthiopiaKenya
- Improved governance and conflict prevention
- PACTStrategies for Northern Development