- Where – Kenya (Eastern Africa)
- Website – www.sopa.or.ke
- Contact Person – Bernard Ochieng Oluma
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address – 53958-00200, City Square, Nairobi, Kenya
Areas of Expertise
Seeds of Peace Africa has expertise in a range of areas, including:
- Advocacy and Lobbying
- Community Development
- Reconciliation and Dealing with the Past
- Regional and Cross Border Co-operation
Main Aims and Objectives
SOPA International was founded by protagonists of peace, committed to bringing positive change through non-violence and the use of effective interpersonal skills as a means of solving conflict and achieving peaceful coexistence in which children, youth and women are empowered to realize their full potential by participating in building positive peace, sustainable development and respect for human dignity as the pillars for a just society.
A friendly world where there is a peaceful coexistence in which children, youth and women are empowered to realize their full potential by participating in building positive peace, sustainable development and respect for Human Dignity as the pillars for a just society.
To facilitate the empowerment of children, young people and women through non-violent means, conflict transformation and peace education/training, research and analysis, counselling and networking in order for them to participate in building positive peace, sustainable development and respect for human dignity in realizing a just and friendly world.
Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation
SOPA upholds the principles of conflict transformation through guidance, counselling and trauma healing, institutional capacity building, peace education, sports for peace and development, research for strategic networking, lobbying and advocacy for strategic policy, gender mainstreaming and cross cutting issues such as human rights.
The world today is experiencing an unbreakable vicious cycle of violence that has become a culture. Children and young people are no longer victims only but have also become perpetrators of violent conflicts and criminal acts against fellow children, young persons and other members of the society. Very few actors are targeting children and young people, with peace education work camps and the related activities, as a sure way of transforming the culture of violence into that of peace. Too little resources, if any, have been allocated over the years towards transforming the culture of violence into a culture of peace through children and young people.
SOPA empowers children and young people in communities, organizations and learning institutions to support their members in their endeavours to rebuild relationships, to clarify personal and organizational visions, and to develop, maintain and resolve conflict in a non-violent manner. SOPI promotes empathy, patience, integrity and courage in the process of disengaging from the violence that surrounds them and encourages them to become agents of peace and social transformation through value based sports, cultural activities and creative arts, life skills and other forms of education that engage youth on issues that affect and impact their lives, thereby sowing the seeds of peace.
Where and with Whom?
SOPA’s main counterparts are women, youth and children, policy-makers and implementers, community leaders and elders.
Geographically, SOPA works in:
- Kenya – Nairobi, Northern Kenya; Lokichogio, Kakuma, Lodwar, Western Kenya, Nyanza, Siaya, Rift valley, Mt. Elgon and the Coast;
- Ethiopia-Gambella, Upper Nile;
- South Sudan – Kuron, Kapoeta, Jonglei – Bor.
- North Uganda – Kaabong, Kotido
Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation
The biggest challenge for implementing effective programs for children and the young people in difficult circumstances is lack / limited resources (material, human, and financial). SOPA International integrates efforts towards the mobilization of all-purpose resources, and foster the effective and efficient use of these resources within the SOPA International movement and community to address social, economic, environmental, political, and other cross-cutting issues in realizing positive peace, and sustainable livelihood.
Community Exchange Programme
The main goal of this project is to build bridges through community service between persons of different backgrounds creating synergy and enhancing knowledge, skills and expertise in various fields for improved sustainable livelihoods.
Capacity and Institutional Building
SOPA develops and builds its institutional capacity by enhancing/reviewing its structures, policies and developing the roles and responsibilities for its staffs and volunteers for the implementation of the activities. The peace and sports programme enhances capacity and or institutional building by Targeting Sports Leaders at kraal level through the organization of exposure visits that aim at making the pastoralist youth from remote areas familiar with the non-violent world as a learning process.
The programme also uses Training of Trainers of the so called Peace & Sport Facilitators (PSFs) which entails the organizational capacity of local peace forces, in building a local infrastructure for peace and development. Capacity building also targets organizations, whereby, on the organizational level institutional capacity building, monitoring & evaluation and outcome mapping is needed. Through its activities the program builds the capacity of the implementing partners in contributing to peace building and paving the way to development in such a way that they continue their peace & development-activities after the direct funding of the P&S program has stopped.
Counselling and Trauma Healing
The horrifying sight of children scavenging for food in damping sites oblivious of the dangers and the victims of long armed conflicts portend great danger for society. This situation is a clear indicator of lack of confidence, trauma, lack of support from community and lack of motivation on the part of the children, and grown ups alike.
There is need for counselling, and rebuilding of relationships through healing in order to realize improved self-esteem, reduced psychosocial problems, and increased creativity among the children, youth and women. The desired situation is increased self-esteem among the target group, enhanced support for the target group, improved security within the community and increased livelihood opportunities. The Community Empowerment Initiative programme specializes in providing counselling services to persons who have undergone traumatic experiences, and especially persons affected by the post election violence.
Early Warning System and Conflict Monitoring
The peace and sports programme, together with its implementing partners have developed a cross-border early warning mechanism and a conflict dynamics database to monitor the cross-border conflicts. In terms of monitoring the cross-border conflicts, a conflict dynamic database format was developed by all partners in order to monitor the cross-border conflict. The idea behind this tool is to regularly analyze these data in order to continuously assess and adjust intervention strategies within the Peace & Sports programme.
Presence on the ground is also an integral part In the improvement on monitoring and strengthening the early warning system, there is a need to be more present on the ground. Since SOPA and IKV Pax Christi are coordinating the programme from Nairobi, with regular visits to the field, an office in Kakuma has become an essential part of liaison. The same desire to be physically present was expressed by the implementing partners, also to ensure more programme management support to them. Furthermore a field office stimulates a more efficient cooperation between the Peace & Sports programme with other stakeholders on the ground, be it local CBO, international NGOs, government institutions, churches, and individuals. It also enhances the capacity to join hands on cross cutting subjects of different programmes.
Lobbying and Advocacy
Growth and development of children, youth and women are at times hindered by the policies that exist. Seeds of Peace Africa focuses on accessing and using research findings to effect positive change by advocating for appropriate policies to be adopted. Additionally, the initiative strengthens strategic alliances and networks, carries out joint programmes with NGO’s that share the vision, and foster a partnership with local government agencies.
There are various other stake holders and agencies concerned with the issue of violence as it affects all the segments of the society, this then calls for networking with other like-minded entities in fostering development of children and the youth. It requires these entities to highlight injustice and advocate for social justice and the observation of human rights. They will also share information and learn from others’ experiences.
SOPA focuses on research and development of appropriate policies as the basis for all intervention with the aim of supporting efforts through investment in the growth and development of youth as agents of change. it promotes peace and harmony towards the realization of sustainable livelihoods.
The peace and sports programme and sports and development programme aims to strengthen (the capacity of) local partners to influence or participate in local and regional policy processes that are important for their security situation. The programs aim to link relevant issues to the public and political agenda. Collaboration with other organizations in is enhanced in order to explore joint ways of lobbying. The programs aim to publish a yearly paper/report on issues identified by the partners. The yearly paper aims to formulate recommendations towards different stakeholders such as the governments to work coherently and cooperatively on peaceful co-existence along the borders.
Through the programmes, the networking between the participating partner organizations has intensified. To enhance the impact of the programme, such networking needs further attention and strengthening.Linking to other stakeholders is a condition for success. From the coordinating level of the program linkages are made with INGOs working in the same field to complement each others activities and strengthen them.
Peace Education and Development
SOPA believes passionately in peace, justice and equity. SOPA has come to appreciate how urgent it is necessary to mobilize people and empower them, especially children, youth and women and mobilize resources in their favor so that they can seek, live for and work towards peace and development in the world using non-violent values, norms and interpersonal skills to solve conflicts among people because there are many very powerful forces working in the opposite direction.
The SOPA approach of building the capacity of peace groups and their communities through skills and development will help reduce the negative effect of dependency syndrome that has been created. Thus the youths shall be able to initiate and engage in livelihood activities that are sustainable. They should only look for external sources of support but not as the only means of survival.
Implementing partners in the various programmes such as the peace and sports programme, Kenya Netherlands sports for development programme and the community empowerment initiative play an important role in bringing together youths in the peace, development and sports programmes and members from hostile communities in peace activities. When contributing to or facilitating community dialogue and mediation processes sports can be used as an instrument to release some of the anger in an organized physical way.
Seeds of Peace Africa International has positively impacted the lives of marginalised persons, especially in the pastoralists’ community by organizing and conducting Cross Border Peace and Sports Tournament. It has successfully realised the following, thereby contributing to conflict transformation efforts:
- Reaching out to people in marginalised areas where governments hardly reach; areas lack security, law and order and basic social amenities (hospitals, schools, communication etc.);
- Influencing gradual change of attitude; youth warriors stopped raiding and violence through the sporting component of the programme and exposure visits away from their natural homes. They have become role-models and agents for change in their communities today;
- Bridging the social gap between warriors and urban youth, thereby providing hope for peace building and acceptability;
- Enabled the transformation of diviners and kraal leaders into peace-drivers rather than conflict-drivers;
- Creating interest in the youth warriors + women to consider alternative livelihoods rather than cattle raiding. Potentials for development increase;
- Transformation of women artefacts which promote cattle raiding and violence and into peace choirs promoting peace, reconciliation and development
- Capacity of Peace & Sports Facilitators is being built in the following areas – a) basic reporting, b) basic leadership skills, c) basic skills how to conduct workshops on conflict transformation, peace-building and sports as an instrument, d) basic skills how to conduct sports trainings, organise tournaments and matches for youth warriors prone to violence through value based sports;
- Capacity of Sports-for-Peace Leaders (youth warriors at kraal level) is being built in the following areas – a) basic verbal incident reporting, reduction of mistrust and suspicion amongst warriors from different communities, awareness raising on root causes of conflicts, alternative livelihoods other than raiding, common backgrounds, connectors and dividers, basic sports skills and practice, peaceful resolution to conflicts, participation in dialogue and peace meetings and training them in trauma healing and counselling;
- Building strong multi-stake holder networking relationships with various organizations on sports and environmental concerns for sustainable development and justice. This has brought various stakeholders together creating a unity of purpose thus earning the respect and trust of the donor community;
- Lobbying and advocating for peace and human rights in conflict prone areas including advocating and policy formulation for women empowerment programmes.