‘I was almost giving up on peace and all these peace trainings. I have attended so many of them but none of them has been practical and effectual. Apart from Peace Circles, all the other trainings have been theoretical, and they are facilitated by people who don’t believe in what they are telling others to do.’ This was said by one of the women who attended the 3 days of Creators of Peace Circles facilitation training from 30 March - 1 April, 2011 at Amani Communities Africa (ACA) offices located at Ngong, Nairobi, Kenya. The 18 women came from different parts of Kenya, as well as one coming from Uganda.
The women, who are mostly professionals in different corporate and social fields, had participated in a Peace Circles workshop that took place in November, 2010. These women, who had greatly appreciated the impact from the workshop, were eager to come back again in order to learn some skills in facilitating a Peace Circle themselves. This was done at their own expense.
One of the ladies had an image of how things would be if Peace Circles took place on a wide scale...‘In my deeper imagination I pictured us all going back to our communities and starting up small Peace Circles. This would lead to a society with respect; one which upholds dignity; the issues of land and ethnicity will be dealt with; the marginalised will be uplifted and those with excess will share. How long will it take us to cover the whole world with this message of change?...’
As expressed over and over again by most of the women who have attended Peace Circles workshops, it is a programme that has impact and is effective. Unfortunately, finances are one of the major issues inhibiting the programme from spreading far and wide. One participant said, ‘How can we get prominent women in our circles? How can we incorporate them? If we get them, it can help us use the finances they have. We will give what we have and they will give what they have.’
The Director of ACA, Joy Mbaabu, sat humbly for the three days of training, together with two of her staff members, just like she had in the November 2010 Peace Circles workshop. Joy believes in the power of Peace Circles and she is setting up plans for collaborating with the Peace Circles programme and running them as part of the Amani Communities Africa organisation.
Much gratitude to Jean Brown (Australia), who was the main facilitator for the training and the four Action for Life participants, [Eunbi (S.Korea), Esita (Fiji), Dolma(Tibet/India) and Ming Ling (China)] who provided support to the whole process.
Creators of Peace Kenya would like to humbly appreciate Nelly Njoki, a graduate of Harambee Africa 2008 and Caux Scholars Programme 2010, for the efforts she has put in connecting Initiatives of Change/ Peace Circles with Amani Communities Africa organisation (www.acafrica.org).