The role of women in armed conflict : the case of the Burnt Forest area, 1991-2008
Kariuki, James K
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This study examined the role of women in armed conflict in Kenya, in general and the Burnt , Forest region, in particular. The study sets the pace with the history of settlement in the Rift Valley and particularly the Uasin Gishu District. It explores how the Europeans and different Kenyan ethnic groups settled in the Uasin Gishu District. This background information provides the understanding of how different ethnic groups found themselves in Uasin Gishu District as well as the nature conflict in the Burnt Forest. The study examined the ethnic conflict from 1991 to 2008. The study was based on the argument that women's contribution in armed conflict has been underestimated. In fact, women often contribute to the outbreak and continuation of violence and hostilities. In many cases, women are very instrumental in inciting men to defend their community's interests, honour and collective livelihoods. Women also fight in the majority of armed conflict, yet the conflict literature focuses mainly on men. This study therefore explored, analysed and documented the roles women played in the Burnt Forest ethnic conflict. The aftermath of the seventeen or so years affected the whole community in the Burnt Forest area. However, this study concentrated on the impact on women. Women were impacted upon both positively and negatively. Some women from the Kalenjin community who were perceived as indigenous and rightful owners of the land gained from the conflicts. However some others were caught in between crossfire and suffered the consequences of the violence. Most ofthe nonKalenjin women lost their wealth, family members and displacement. They were also subjected to sexual harassment. In a nutshell, women from both the Kalenjin and non-Kalenjin communities were impacted upon by the ethnic conflicts that marred the Burnt Forest area from 1991 to 2008.