Since its inception ten (10) years ago, DiPaD has implemented programs with various communities, individuals and organizations that have had far reaching impact on individual and personal transformation, as well as initiated a process of social change in Kenya. Some of the programs implemented includes:


1.1 Strengthening collaborative efforts for transforming violent extremism in urban informal settlements

The program targets at risk youths who have been affected by poverty, conflict, alcohol and substance abuse to provide them with life skills and opportunities for economic empowerment, skills in leadership, nonviolence and conflict resolution. It seeks to provide them with safe spaces to express their experiences, grievances and find a healthy nonviolent way of resolving the issues. It further, seeks to reduce social rebellion of youth and their lack of respect for social norms where they reject suitable counsel and engage in antisocial behavior, violence and acts of radicalization and violence.

The strategic objectives of the program is to strengthen the capacity of youth led organizations to reduce violence through organized community learning and engagements in urban informal settlements by deepening understanding on violence, trauma, restorative justice and resilience

The program seeks: 

  1. To organize youth learning forums on trauma, violence, restorative justice and resilience for healing, building resilience and breaking cycles of violence and poverty.

2. Develop life skills, youth led enterprises and community livelihood programs

3. To establish mechanism for community self-care in urban informal settlements

4. To develop youth leadership programme based on inter-regional linkages and cohesiveness across the country.

The program activities tackle both push and pull factors of radicalization and antisocial behavior through psychosocial support and linkage to opportunities for skills development and income generation.

Impact: The program has reached out and transformed more than ninety two (92) youths in Kasarani Sub County. By learning and practicing concepts in trauma and restorative justice the youths are able to recognize and meet their psychosocial needs and find healing form effects of violent conflicts and poverty.

Forgiveness, healing, restoration of broken relationships and resumption of normal productive lives has been one of the remarkable transformation of the youths who had experienced violent conflicts, abuse and poverty and led a life hopelessness.

1.2 Integrating restorative justice principles in alternative dispute resolution approaches in land and resource based conflicts in Kenya

Goal: to develop a framework for effective utilization of Alternative Justice System (AJS) in Kenya for a cohesive and integrated society. Key strategies:

  1. To develop a Kenyan body of knowledge on AJS.
  2. Develop a database of key actors, resource persons and practitioners from different sectors and communities to share lessons for AJS in Kenya.
  3. To develop a framework and implementation action plan for capacity building on AJS.
  4. To document and advocate for the up-scaling and formal adoption of trauma informed practice and restorative justice principles within the justice and reconciliation systems in Kenya.

Members of the Kuria community led by Mr. George Chacha participated in a five day training hosted by the Justice that Heals program in 2014 and one of their resolutions after the training was to carry out an in-depth study, document and strengthen this justice model through capacity building and linkage to the formal justice system. They developed an initiative that seeks to integrate elements of restorative justice to the Ebaraza system and link it to the formal justice system to complement each other in enhancing access to justice and conflict resolution for the people of Kuria sub county, Migori County.

Kuria Traditional Justice (Ebharasa) Learning Community; Advocating for Strengthening of the Justice System

“Justice under the tree”-Ebharasa is a traditional justice system among the Kuria people of Migori County that resolves communal disputes and ensures that conflicts are peacefully resolved among the community members to strengthen the community social fabric. The system has provided cheap, quick and culturally relevant remedies to the justice needs of the community members. It has a structure of twenty members elected by the community who form the Ebharasa and meet regularly to hear disputes and resolve conflicts at communal level thus providing access to justice for the majority of the Kuria people.

Through support from the Justice that Heals program, the learning community from Kuria was able to;

  • Carry out an in-depth study of the Kuria traditional justice system-Ebharasa
  • Document the process of administering justice and conflict resolution using Ebharasa courts.
  • Present the findings and recommendations to a judicial task force on AJS which is mandated to develop a policy to mainstream into the formal justice system, traditional, informal and other mechanisms used to access justice in Kenya.

A summary of a Survey Report on Ebharasa

Ebharasa is a form of traditional justice system that has been able to resolve conflicts which are mainly social, economic and environmental in nature. Most of the residents in Kuria have a clear understanding on the process and appreciate the efforts Ebharasa elders are using in order to foster reconciliation and promote a traditional dispute resolution system. Ebharasa elders are known to use their wisdom by investigating the background of the two parties and it is easier for them to get a clear picture of the conflict since they are all from the same community and they are able to know the history of the people well enough. Boundary conflicts, marriage and issues regarding herding on farm land are some of the conflicts that have been successfully resolved by the elders.

However amid all the success stories of the different conflicts that have been resolved, there are a few issues that are a threat to the traditional justice system. Some of the issues are regarding the system itself and the elders. The system does not give authority to the Ebharasa elders to enforce their rulings so those found guilty can decide not to do as required of them.

Secondly, there’s a need to factor in the youths and encourage them to appreciate the system itself. Many of them view the system as an old fashioned way where the elders are not educated and do not know the laws of the country.

There is also the issue of getting funds for basic materials like books, a shelter and seats. Another area that should be discussed is the issues of clannism and nepotism and how to work at a way of ensuring that it does not discourage the members from using the system.

Where should the conflict resolution system begin in a community? Most of the community members believe that the Ebharasa should be the first point of contact in seeking justice before they proceed to the formal courts.

Report by Ruth Awuor,DiPaD.

1.3 The national peace education campaign (2012)

The project was a collaborative effort between UNICEF Kenya, Ministry of Education and DiPaD. The goal of the project was to involve Children and Youth from all the 47 counties in Kenya to participate in an Education for Peace and Non Violence campaign during the run up to the general elections in 2013.


  1. A nationwide peaceful and nonviolent campaign launched to generate constructive engagement and linkages among children, youth, the national and political leadership, and various communities in Kenya.
  2. A peaceful legacy and transition passed on from one generation to another using the Peace Torch as a rallying symbol of national unity and friendship among Kenyans.
  3. An increased outreach and awareness on peace and violence prevention created through peace messages on social cohesion between communities.
  4. A total of twenty one “peace and non-violence zones” created and designated in schools as centers of non-violence and awareness on the negative impacts of extreme violence.

The program continues to implement restorative discipline principles in schools through peace clubs.


2.1 Create trauma awareness and build resilience for public and private sector organizations

The Strategic objective of the programs is to build capacity on trauma, self-care and resilience for private and public sector organizations.  The key activities to achieve the desirable outcomes of the programs include; conducting a training of trainers (tot) programs, creating a safe environment for individuals to interact and share stories as part of creating social support for building resilience. Integrate self-care programs in the work place and prepare self-help kit for teams. Some of the organizations who have gone through the program includes:

a. Working with Religious Leaders to Break the Cycles of Violence in Tana River County:

As a response to the need for healing and reconciliation in Tana River County that has experienced both natural and human related violence, religious leaders through the pastor’s fellowship partnered with DiPaD to build their capacity in trauma healing and reconciliation process. The program trained a total of sixty three (63) religious leaders (Muslim and Christian) on trauma awareness and resilience building.

The program achievement includes;

  • The religious leaders gained knowledge and skills in trauma, restorative justice and reconciliation.
  • They were more aware and able to deal with their own trauma needs
  • They began a process of integrating trauma and resilience concepts in their work as religious leaders to address the psychosocial needs of their congregations.
  • They have establishes working a relationships with community radio stations to disseminate trauma and resilience information to residents of tana river county
  • They have also established a working partnership with the county government of Tana River to implement trauma and resilience program in the county.

b. Building Resilience and Self Care for Kenya Defence Forces, Langata Barracks.

The main goal of the program was to create awareness on the effects of trauma and stress and provide strategies for building resilience and self-care for the soldiers. Based on the initial interventions, it has become apparent that the need for self-care strategies is urgent and it is only a matter of time before the effects of traumatization are experienced on a larger scale, given the ongoing deployments. On the other hand, the program provides awareness for the participants to appreciate that even the bravest of soldiers is not immune to the effects of trauma and seeking help and recognizing his physical, psychological and emotional responses to trauma is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and resilience.

c. Workplace Stress Management and Self Care for North Rift Judges and Magistrates’ Association

The main objective of program is to create awareness of the impact of violence and trauma on individuals, groups and societies, and offer strategies and tools for addressing trauma and breaking the cycles of violence brought about by unhealed trauma. The learning retreat also aims at providing strategies for stress management and self care for judicial officers who find themselves frequently exposed to violence or traumatic events in the nature of their work.

The program looked into ways of introducing restorative justice approaches and concepts to professionals and practitioners in Kenya working for the justice system namely judges, magistrates, prosecutors, prison officers and police; and explore ways of integrating these concepts to promote trauma informed judicial systems and enhance alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in Kenya.

2.2 Response to terrorist attacks; trauma awareness and self-care

Kenya has experienced a series of terror attacks since 1998 which leave families, communities and the nation divested and traumatized. In support of recovery efforts in the aftermath of disasters such as terror attacks , ethnic violence etc, DiPaD initiates trauma awareness and self-care programs to create spaces for caregivers, security and media personnel and people who are directly affected, to process their experiences and learn strategies for self-care.

The program reaches out to small community of caregivers, security and survivors so that they can educate themselves and their organizations to;

  1. Engage in healing their own trauma
  2. Enlighten their families, communities and organizations about the length and complexity of the healing journey
  3. Learn about tools and strategies for addressing trauma for individuals and groups
  4. Referral to experts for specialized care

The program has been able to support intervention and recovery efforts in the following terror attacks;

  • Westgate Mall, Nairobi
  • Moi Garissa University College, Garissa
  • 14 Riverside, Nairobi

In general, the project is able to demystify some of the approaches used to respond to traumatic events and in a context where there is a lot of denial about trauma. The approach emphasizes on socio therapy processing models that also involve emotional and spiritual safety as well as paying attention to the justice needs of the victims.it takes an educational model where individuals are empowered through education and given space to practice self-care in the midst of a supportive community and psycho-social experts.


3.1. Strengthening women and youth peacebuilding leadership in Kenya.

The new constitution of Kenya that was promulgated in August 2010 provided immense opportunities for enhanced participation of women in politics and decision making at all levels of society.

The general expected outcome the program is to:

  1. Create awareness of the opportunities available to women and youth from the Constitution of Kenya.
  2. Increase the confidence and support for women and youth to develop their leadership skills and contribute to Kenya’s socioeconomic and political prosperity.
  3. Establish networks and structures over the long term to continue to support women and youth leadership development.

One of the program activities involved a national symposium for women political aspirants and leaders in Kenya hosted by the 2012 Nobel Laureate Ms. Leymah Gbowee from Liberia. The intent of the project was to support the development of a united, strong Kenya through supporting women to step into political leadership roles so they can bring their talents and strengths and make important contributions to the actualization of the 1/3 gender parity in Kenya. More than fifty (50) women leaders attended the symposium and benefited immensely from Ms. Leyman Gbomowee mobilization, leadership and advocacy skill and experience.

In 2014-2017, DiPaD partnered with Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) to implement a Women Peacebuilding Program in Kenya with financial support from USAD Kenya and East Africa. The program targets women peacebuilding practitioners who are recognized in their community as possessing leadership potential and dedication to their community. The women leaders studied for a Graduate Certificate in Peacebuilding Leadership that included courses in peacebuilding and leadership theory along with practical skills, as well as a strong mentoring program to assist the women to enhance their peacebuilding efforts within Kenya.

 A Total of sixteen (16) women leaders received scholarship to sturdy for the graduate certificate at EMU and are now working and influencing peacebuilding work in various leadership position in Kenya and East Africa.

They have also formed a network of professional women peacebuilders namely DAWN (Daima Amani Women Network) to influence and support peace building work in Kenya in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16(Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Dipad Annual Newsletter - 2019

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