L’impegno per la pace dei firmatari del ‘Pledge to Peace’ – Seanet International – Kenia

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By Macheru Karuku.

The Needs in Kenya and Africa.

There is insecurity threat in Kenya and most of Africa, enmeshed in value, resource and need conflicts.  High youth’s unemployment, idleness and disenchantment appear to be some of the triggering agents. Excessive displayed opulence and conspicuous consumption tendencies in the midst of want, only heightens disillusionments. All this and more is recipe for instability and desperate journeys to the north.

Educational curricula are devoid of semi-skills training necessary for livelihood needs. This is in a labour market where youths’ unemployment is critical at more than 65%.

Perhaps this underlines the hopes and fears on transition of youths from schools and training institutions to the labour market, candidly expressed in the World Youth Report 2011 thus:        ‘’ The current employment scenario for young people, worsened by the global economic crisis, poses an urgent challenge with long-term implications for both young people and society as a whole’’ .

Many African governments are however coming up with many jobs – stimulant but dysfunctional youth’s programs. It probably would have been easier to do it in schools where youths are already concentrated in millions. Trying to reach them thereafter is like ‘’shutting the stable doors when the horse has bolted…’’.

It then appears like forces of radicalization are taking full advantage of this schism as recently headlined by Kenya’s Daily Nation:  ‘’Students quitting school for Al-Shabaab’’ .

The situation Europe and the Global North.

With unemployment rate of only 9.6% in Europe, predictable social welfare, peace and tranquility, Europe is simply the opposite of   the anxious Africa.

Rationality then dictates that people will move from the impoverishment of the south to the prosperity of the north, with intensity only proportional to the differential.

Bridging the Gap

Part of the answer lays in the annual 30-50% post-harvest food losses endemic to Africa. If this was matched with young people imparted with semi skill training, entrepreneurship and peace education, probably this could mark a new beginning. The newly found confidence in food value addition could again be the spark to transform mindsets of many that would probably take us to the direction of India and China where unemployment is at a low of 9% and 4% respectively.

What SEANET has done.

Our weapon of choice is the eGardens and Cottage Food Industries (eGardens) Model for School Ecosystems.

Definition of eGardens:

The eGardens and Cottage Food Industries model is a multi-disciplinary, systemic, dynamic and adaptive exemplar of best practices (BP’s). BP’s are synergistically integrated with creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to have a system that addresses the schools challenges of water and food insecurity (now) and student skills for their (future) livelihood needs. This could lead to inner peace for one self, family, neighbors, society and the world.

Simple Infrastructure & equipment + Training (management and peace education)                        = (Water +Food + Semi-skills) Peace = (Livelihood Skills Kit) Inner Peace.      

After taking eGardens successfully through prototype and validation stages in 12 schools, the model was studied by researchers from Karatina University and published in the International Journal of Computer Science, Technology and Security in August 2014. We are now at the mass release stage at Camp Mahon (tented and 90% complete), a social enterprise where we have consolidated our experiences ‘’under one roof’’.

The camp comprises 6 tents in 3 roofed sheds with a capacity of 60, cottage food industry, training hall, wash room comprising 8 water closets and 8 shower rooms, paved foot paths, nature trails, real bird life ‘’open air’ classroom, water fountains, grass lawns etc. . Participants will be admitted as follow: Those who can afford will pay at the prevailing market rates; those able to only partly pay will be subsidized while those unable to pay at all will come for free.

The camp, located on the leeward side of Mt Kenya, is 7 km south of Nanyuki Equator and 2km north of Nanyuki Airstrip, along the Cape to Cairo (The Great North) Road and next to the Rongai River Bridge.

Participants will undergo peace education and semi skills training on water and food which they will practice later in their schools and homes.

Open days will be held and those invited will include politicians and other policy makers who could influence semi skills and peace education inclusion into Kenya’s educational curriculum.

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  Pledge to Peace

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