In 1993, Dekha Ibrahim founded the Wajir Women Association for Peace (WWAP) in order to create a safer market for all the women from tribes in Wajir County, Kenya following the outbreak of violence due to the elections of 1992.
Problems and Purpose
The purpose of this participatory innovation was to create a safer living environment for the women of Wajir County, Kenya, which was experiencing violence following a drought from 1991 to 1992 and local elections that shifted the political powers in 1992. Ibrahim chose to begin the process by gathering women from various local tribes because they were the ones most effected by the newly ignited violence happening in their region as they could no longer even safely make use of their markets.
Background History and Context
A drought in the Wajir region, which started in 1991, caused nearly 80% of the livestock leading to mass starvation. This affected people not only in Kenya, but also Ethiopia and Somalia who then became refugees in Kenya in order to escape the violence that the drought brought to their home areas. The new ethnic groups that came to the region only helped to further harm relationships between the local tribes as it changed a shift in power, especially seen following the elections of 1992 in Kenya. Women were especially susceptible to this violence since they did not have as much power as their male counterparts. This led Dkha Ibrahim to gather local women to develop solutions to the violence that faced them.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The original group was founded by Dkha Ibrahim with 5 other local women in here region. There was no support either physical or financial from the government or any Non-government organizations at the founding of the Wajir Women Association for Peace (WWAP). Any money that was needed for their project came directly from those working on it.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Initially, this program was only open to the women of the area. This was not because they did not want help from other groups, but because they were the ones to found the program. As time went on, they begin to recruit tribe elders (men) who supported their cause, as well as religious leaders and members of the youth. This was not done through any type of academic technic, such as sampling, because they did not have the knowledge to do this. Instead, it was done through community outreach. Ibrahim would find sympathetic people in her community and bring them into the process to reduce violence.
Methods and Tools Used
This group primarily made use of dialogues and assemblies in order to reach the people within their community. These methods allowed for both internal and external communication to be used relatively easy.
The use of intra-group assemblies allowed for the small groups to develop a consensus before addressing the community at large, thus allowing them to be more effective in their engagement. The inter-group assemblies are what allowed for the initial group to reach out to others in order to get their message across since it showed that they wanted the input of other groups. The dialogues were where the various groups could discuss their differing opinions after coming to an internal consensus. This was the key method to ensure buy-in from all stakeholders within the community. However, to reach some of these groups the WWAP first had to gain support from other minority groups in order to gain the social capital to get a dialogue with more influential parties. Minority-led dialogue are what made it possible for Dekha Ibrahim to expand the WWAP’s influence in such a rapid and effective manner.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The initial participation was done by the small group of women discussing solutions to the issues that they faced (i.e., violence). They all provided ideas on how to address the problem and ways that the solutions could be implemented. Once they incorporated other people/groups into their project, it is unclear as to how they exactly worked with them.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The WWAP was successful at creating a safe marketplace for the local women to shop at by getting the local tribes to cooperate together in punishing those who broke the peace. This led to the WWAP developing more relationships with other groups, such as political and economic leaders, who then created the Wajir Peace and Development Committee (WPDC), a government institution. This committee has continued to do quality work within the peacebuilding field in Kenya and continues to meet on a regular basis to address developing issues throughout the country.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
There are not formal evaluations of the project at this point, which is not especially surprising, considering the people running the project did not have the technical knowledge to do it. According to Ibrahim, the participants were all happy with how the project turned out since they accomplished their original goal and were even able to expand far past that. She states that the religious leaders of her community were especially satisfied with how the project.
 Fallonn, A. (2009, August 26). Women of Wajir. Retrieved from http://afjn.org/women-of-wajir/
 Berkley Center for Religion, & Georgetown University. (2010, May 29). A Discussion with Dekha Ibrahim, Founder, Wajir Peace and Development Committee, Kenya. Retrieved from https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/interviews/a-discussion-with-dekha-ibrahim-founder-wajir-peace-and-development-committee-kenya
 Lederach, J. P. (2005). The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Peace Building. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
The original submission of this case entry was written by Logan Hunt, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The views expressed in the current version are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.