Sunday, September 2, 2012

Peace Heroes

Unsung Peace Heroes is a project developed by Butterfly Works and Media Focus on Africa Foundation. It began as a way to “recognize individuals and organizations that participated in peace efforts in the violent aftermath of the December 2007 Kenyan general election.”

According to the Unsung Peace Heroes website, the Peace Heroes are ordinary people who “risked their own lives to save members of other communities. During the post election period many Kenyans reached out to neighbours or to those in camps, to give a helping hand. Youth peace initiatives, peace marches and symbolic acts … sprung up around the country to restore the damage done and create positive change.”

Take Kamakei “Freddy” Ole Sangiriaki, from Narok, located west of Nairobi. He and some neighbors formed a group called “Kenyan Initiative – by Kenyans for Kenyans” comprised of people from different ethnic groups, including Maasai and Kikuyu, Kisii and Luo men. They went out at night to talk to groups of angry mobs and after just one week managed to persuade them to stop the violence and killing. What’s more, this effort gave other groups in Narok the idea and courage to establish similar “peacekeeping groups”. As a result, Freddy maintains the violence ended much sooner in and around Narok than in the rest of the country.

In recognition of such efforts, Freddy and 7 other individuals won the Unsung Peace Heroes Competition. Click here to read about many of the other men and women who acted to stop the brutality that ensued in post-election Kenya in 2008.

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