The cyclic resource based conflicts in Tana Delta Sub County of Tana River has ever been escalating due to the influx of herders who come looking for pasture for their livestock.
In May 2016, the Tana River burst its banks displacing communities living along the river banks as well as cutting off the Malkas- footpaths designated through community agreements as river access points for livestock.
These served as early warning signs for conflict, as the displaced communities shrank the space for passage and grazing of livestock while the cut off Malkas force livestock to trespass through farms destroying crops.
KECOSCE through the Tushauriane Tana Delta project under the SCORE program conducted various community dialogue forums sensitizing communities on non violent approaches to resolve conflicts amongst belligerent communities of Orma and Pokomos. KECOSCE trained the communities to also collaborate with other actors in stopping the spread of rumors and mitigating the effects of flooding in the region.
The efforts have now started reaping fruits, and in a recent incidence; livestock invaded a farm in Chara location in Tarasaa division of the Tana Delta Sub County, destroyed crops of an undisclosed value in the farm. In a departure from convention, women dispersed the livestock and later held a peaceful demonstration. This initiative by women from Chara is the first of its kind and brought together women from both Orma and Pokomo communities.
The women drawn from Chara, Oda Golbanti and Tarasaa on their own volition came together to demand accountability from the owners of the livestock and rallied the local administration and police to respond to the looming crisis and avert an escalation of such incidences. This came immediately after KECOSCE had trained women leaders on peace building and advocacy in the area.
The Assistant County Commissioner later addressed the women, and assured them that the government shall ensure a smooth resolution to the issue and form a task force to deal with alerts raised. The administration is also now setting up a police post in Chara, an estranged community and a conflict hotbed in the lower Tana to help arrest the situation.
The initiative is a step in the right direction and an indicator for healing in the region. Women are now taking active steps towards peace building while demanding their space in decision making in the area. "We shall sustain these peace building efforts in Tarasaa, because over a long time women have been alienated in peace building, but today we see more vibrant and confident women leading this initiative,” says the area acting chief Madam Salome Morowa.