The role of NGOs in conflict transformation: a case study of the Catholic justice and peace commission in Lelan Division, West Pokot County, Kenya
The concept of contlict transformation can be traced back to the writings of Lederach in the 1980s and those of Galtung in the late 1970s.The concept, however, gained much support with the evolution of conceptualization of human security by the international community. The protracted nature of conflicts arising in Kenya has led to the 'ldoption of the conflict transformation approach by NGOs involved in peace building. Studies, however, indicate that NGOs, despite setting out with conflict transformation plans, end up resolving and managing conflicts; they do not transform conflicts. This has been as a result of the unclear specification of activities that the NGOs are expected to be involved in so as to transform conflicts. This study, therefore, sought to find out the role ofNGOs in conflict transformation. This is a case study of activities by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) in Lelan division, west Pokot County. Data for this study was collected in 2012. The: study employed several methods of data collection including focus group discussions with different categories of respondents in Lelan and key informant interviews with officials from CJPC and Lelan. The findings show that CJPC had been involved in initiation of various peace connector projects in the region and in the formation of youth and women groups. These activities had been instrumental in addressing access to economic resources and raising standards of living in the region. They also served to erode stereotypes and suspicion among Pokot and Marakwet in the region. The study also found out that CJPC was actively involved in facilitating workshops aimed at disseminating knowledge concerning peace building. The 0 organization also incorporated cultural practices and beliefs in its activities. In order to ensure complete change of attitudes and perceptions towards rival groups, the study recommends that CJPC initiate activities that bring more children on board. This would ensure that their attitudes are shaped towards peaceful coexistence at an early age hence ensuring durable peace. The study also recommends that the current draft national policy on peace building and conflict management (NPPBCM) provide for roles by NGOs and other actors in peace building. This would ensure that the policy is effective in ending conflicts in Kenya.