In June 2016 PRECISE collaborated with World Renew, Anglican Development Service, Coast Interfaith Council Clerics Trust, and three multi-ethnic localities in Baringo East, Solai, and Elementaita in carrying out a participatory study to learn from different communities, the mechanisms, and types of interactions used in local engagements to enforce peace between different ethnicities. The study sought to establish who in the communities engages, how the engagement is structured, and what, at the local level upholds the engagements.
The study was a departure from the conventional use of conflict analysis, conflict management, and security enforcement approaches predominantly used in peacebuilding since 1987 in Kenya. Instead, this study focused on analyzing local social factors used to inform engagements that lead to peace and how to enforce and uphold the peace between communities, in conflict-prone communities. The study was based on the premise that communities have mechanisms that ensure peace. Through analysis, the study sought to identify what underpins these mechanisms and how they operate. This approach had not been used previously by the collaborating organizations, peace practitioners, and community peace workers in Kenya.
During the study, the basic assumptions were that, if the types of local social engagement directly related to how peace was gained and maintained could be better understood, respondents could describe who in the community held functions and roles in peace engagement processes. If the types of functions and roles related to the mechanisms were described then; this would illuminate levels of capacity in local peacebuilding. This would then lead to an improved understanding of how to strengthen the mechanisms used and the skills among those who use them. If this is done, it would also contribute to how benefits arising from peaceful coexistence are shared locally within communities and in other wider peace relations.
The study aimed at preparing the ground for the development of innovative responses to peacebuilding, informed by community-bred and community-led approaches in peacebuilding. The findings were intended for use by Anglican Development Service to strengthen local community structures and functions that enforce peace. The findings would also be shared with peace practitioners outside these communities to enhance peacebuilding practices elsewhere.