Religion, gender and peace building in Africa; a case study of Kenya 2007/8
The post-election violence of 2007/8 in Kenya unearthed the deep-rooted differences that had led to animosity between different ethnic groups. Eldoret was one of the worst hit towns in Kenya during the violence recording the worst cases of violence. This conflict demanded a peace building initiative that emphasized the addressing of the uncovered differences and the setting up of a reconciliation program that would build new long-lasting and peaceful relationships between the different communities. Research into the peace building in Kenya has mainly focused on the role of the government and of the international community while only glossing over the role of religion and of women. This paper takes an in-depth analysis of the role of religious organizations; especially the Christian and Islamic faiths in undertaking peace building in Eldoret. It further looks at how women were involved in peace building activities, especially through the religious platform availed by the different religious institutions available in the society. Through unstructured interviews and open ended questionnaires, the study explains the vital role that religious institutions and women in the said religious organizations carried out peace building activities. The findings demonstrate that religious organizations and women through these religious institutions have been instrumental in conducting peace building activities, especially the reconciliation of perpetrators into society and trauma healing for the victims of the post-election violence. The challenges faced by the women involved in religious peace building highlight the need for greater recognition of the peace activities of these women in order to achieve a greater global support for women engaged in religious peace building.