The use of sports in conflict resolution: a case study of tegla lorupe peace run in west pokot district kapenguria division kenya
Conflicts among different communities have been very prevalent in Kenya. These conflicts are caused by various reasons ranging from endemic poverty, economic inequality, and cultural reasons. The problem of conflict has taken a Till on communities especially those living in the North Rift region mainly due to cattle rustling amongst the pastoralist communities, whose main livelihood is dependent on livestock. This conflict often leads to loss of life, wanton destruction of property and general underdevelopment. In an effort to intervene and build peace among communities living in North Rift, Tegla Lorupe, a renowned Kenyan female athlete, established Tegla Lorupe peace run, this initiative uses sports (Running) in order to establish social interaction between warring communities that have experienced conflicts as a result of dominant culture of cattle rustling. Sport is a universal language that can be understood by all, It’s intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game are understood all over the world thus can be harnessed in advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. These values are core in resolving any conflicts. This study sought to investigate the use of sports in conflict resolution with a focus on Tegla Lorupe Peace run in West Pokot District. People living in West Pokot (kapenguria division) were used in this study; Kapenguria has hosted the peace run since inception in 2003. The sample size for this study was 60 respondents from the general community, 5 chiefs, 2 district sports officers sports ,3 Tegla Lorupe staff, and 5 religious leaders, giving a total of 75 respondents. The study findings were, thirty three (58.9%) respondents showed that their role in the peace run is running, five (8.9%) indicated dancing, two (3.6%) indicated cheering whereas, sixteen (28.6%) said they participate in the talks. Youths (Warriors) were found to be the largely represented age group in the peace run fifty lour (96.4%) as a peace building initiative in North Rift region. xi The study also revealed that apart from running, there are other educational processes involved in the peace run, which creates an atmosphere for peace, seventeen (30%) said seminars are held on peace, fifteen (26.8%) said sports role models give peace messages, while eight (14.3% and ten (17.8% respectively said peace talks are held and guests are invited to preach peace. There is a need to diversify sports use for peace building. This will encourage more people to participate since there are people who cannot run but enjoy a different sport, thus more positive results in peace making. This study further, recommends more stakeholder analysis, consultation, and incorporation to ensure that the peace run is more accommodative. Women and children participation needs to be encouraged so that peace message will be assimilated by all the age groups; women and children are worst affected by any form of violence , the culture of tolerance and togetherness will be cultivated to the young generation and this will have a positive impact when they grow up. The peace run should also be held frequently as opposed to once per year. This will create more opportunities for the communities to come together, the more contacts there is between conflicting parties, the more scope there is for resolution. The government, NGOs and other stakeholders should encourage the use of sports in other areas that are prone to conflicts, since the initiative has been successful in West Pokot District.