Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Scouts Calling for Peaceful Elections in Kenya

Friday, 22nd February 2013
Nyeri, Kenya

This is a message of peace from the Scouting Movement in Kenya to leaders in all sectors and to all the peace loving citizens of this great nation in the run-up to the General Elections released on the occasion of the celebration of the 156th birthday of the Founder of Scouting, Lord Robert Stephenson Smith Baden Powell of Gilwell.

Dear Fellow Kenyans,

The founders of this great nation envisioned a just country where citizens would live in brotherhood, peace and liberty as contained in our National Anthem. The same National Anthem continues to encourage us to all arise, with hearts both strong and true, to build this our nation together; and to firmly stand to defend the glory of Kenya.

As we approach the General Elections that are due on the 4th of March, we are once again faced with a real test of true nationhood. Remembering very well what happened during the previous elections in 2007, each and every citizen is hereby called upon to become a Messenger of Peace.

It has always been said that the nation is greater than any individual. True to that, it is our collective responsibility as both leaders and citizens to prevent a re-occurrence of the violence and lawlessness that led to the death, injury and displacement of so many Kenyans after the previous elections. If you have watched the documentary “Heal the Nation” by Boniface Mwangi I bet you understand better what we mean. We need to constantly remind ourselves and reflect deeply on what happened and must draw lessons from it.

As the Scouting Movement we are calling upon Kenyans from all walks of life and especially our political leaders to work towards uniting all citizens by promoting peaceful co-existence, national cohesion and integration. We are blessed with a nation that is rich in cultural diversity; which out to be a unifying factor rather than one that divides us along tribal, racial, religious or social clusters. Baden Powell once said that, “God has given us a world to live in that is full of beauties and wonders and He has given us not only the eyes to see them, but minds to understand them, if we only have the sense to look at them in that light.”

As an educational movement for young people that is open to all-boys and girls without distinction of origin, race, gender and creed or tribal/ethnic background in accordance with the purpose, principles and methods as conceived by the founder, Lord Robert Baden Powel, whose birthday we celebrate today on 22nd February; We offer this country a model that appreciates the diversities that make the canvass of the Kenyan people.

By educating young people to play constructive roles in society with the vision of creating a better world, Scouting has continued to engage young people in community activities that help to improve lives and promote peace. Through the Messengers of Peace Initiative we work to train young people in dialogue, peace building and conflict resolution, support local peace initiatives, support young people living in “hot” conflict areas and to build the capacities of adults to support the young people towards the realization of a better and peaceful world.

In 2008, we stood in solidarity with the internally displaced persons and supported them in various ways at the IDP camps in Nakuru, Eldoret, Nairobi and other parts of the country as part of our duty to others. Through the provision of safe zones, pitching tents and constructing shelters, providing sanitation services, distributing food and clothing, and administering basic first aid, the Scouting movement contributed to addressing the humanitarian crisis that our nation faced after the disputed elections.

As we celebrate the would-be 156th birthday of Lord Baden Powell today; we, the Kenya Scouts Association wish to take this opportunity to call for peaceful elections. We urge our fellow Kenyans to give peace a chance. As we engage in the electioneering process we ask that peace prevails. 
One man by the name Dwight Eisenhower did say that, “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days’ governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” And yes indeed, we need to do so much more. We must make everyone understand that without peace life would literally come to a standstill. Look at our neighbouring nations like Somalia, South Sudan and others that have experienced so many years of war. Do we really want to walk down the same road of violence? I am sure we don’t!

So even as much as it is our democratic right to engage in the political process, let us not forget that rights come with responsibilities. Maintaining peace is the responsibility of every single Kenyan, not a preserve of the politicians. Let politics not divide and cause us to hurt one another and to destroy our country. Kenya shall continue to exist and we shall still want to live in it after the elections.
We therefore urge every one of us to become Messengers of Peace in our homes, schools, work places, our places of worship, communities and the nation at large. Let us all take the pledge that:

·         We shall exercise our democratic right to vote for our candidates of choice in a peaceful manner
·         We shall not discriminate against each other on the basis of tribe, race, religion, gender, political affiliations or otherwise.
·         We shall not incite or be used to cause violence against any fellow Kenyans
·         We shall, by our own means possible, become Messengers of Peace and promote the unity of all Kenyans wherever we live or work
·         Guided by the words of our National Anthem, we shall put the interest of Kenya and its people before our own, with full regard of our duty to God, duty to others and duty to our own selves.

Dear brothers and sisters, God’s greatest commandment to all humankind is to love one another. During these very important yet trying moments in our country’s history, let us ask God to intervene. As we pray, let us pray for Kenya; that God grants wisdom to our leaders, love among all citizens and peace to our beloved country. That as we go to the elections, we shall vote wisely for leaders who shall unite all Kenyans to co-exist happily with one another. 

I guess it is true that you never know the value of something until you lose it. We have, for so long, taken peace for granted. The challenge for all of us now is not to allow ourselves to be used for violence; but instead, to become the sober voice of reason that speaks peace and not war.

Nelson Mandela, in his book The Long walk to Freedom says, “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” Brothers and sisters, our long walk to a peaceful Kenya is not yet ended. We need to work even harder to realize the peace we so much yearn for. So let us not relent.

The more we sweat preaching peace, the less we will bleed in war. Let us always remember to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Let us disengage ourselves from hate speech and instead talk of love. Let us all desire for a better country, a better community, and most importantly a better citizenry-that is driven by sound morals, good neighbourliness, brotherhood, love and all things good. By so doing, we shall contribute creating a better world for all of us and for the future generations of our children and our children’s children.

Finally brethren, as the Holy Bible says in Philippians 4:8 so we say to you today, “ Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Thank you! God bless Kenya. God bless us all. 

Yours in Scouting

Nelson Ochieng Opany
National Youth Representative
Kenya Scouts Association 


Messengers of Peace Kenya at the Linda Amani Youth Peace Summit

Messengers of Peace Kenya was represented by 12 Community Leaders at the Linda Amani National Youth Peace Summit which took place at The Luke Hotel in Nairobi under the theme: Kenya Yangu, Amani Lazima (My Kenya, Peace is a Must). The summit began on 18th February and concluded on 21st February.

The key agenda items discussed included the following:

1. Youth scenarios towards 2030
2. Electoral violence... in.Kenya since 1992 to date
3. Personal accounts of electoral related violence
4. Analyzing the current political state in the context of peace and violence
5. Constitution, electoral participation and human rights
6. Leadership and integrity as a Kenyan
7. Understanding the concept of devolution for regional and national integration
8. Ethnicity and national cohesion
9. National preparedness to mitigate violence
10. Electoral process under the new constitution
11. Advocacy and actvocacy

All speakesr at the summit emphasized on the need to draw lessons from the aftermath of the prevuious elections in 2007 to prevent a reoccurence of violence. They also urged the young people to play a lead role in ensuring peace prevails across the country, berfore, during and after the elections
The team that represented MoP Kenya comprised of the following

1. Nelson Opany, National Youth Representative
2. Grace Michuki, National Youth Representative
3. Innocent Kwedo, Vihiga County
4. Mary Atieno, Homabay County
5. Gideon Kariuki, Uasin Gishu County
6. Pauline Kagiri, Kajiado County
7. Patrict Charo, Kilifi County
8. Carol Mbithe, Machakos County
9. Jonathan Wasonga, Nairobi County
10. Emma Muthanje, Murang'a County
11. Zablon Samba, Mombasa County
12. Stanley Kyalo, Kitui County

Nelson was given an opportunity to share with the other participants the work that the young people at Kenya Scouts Association are doing to promote pe4ace through the Messengers of Peace Initiative. At the end of it all, the MoP team crowned the summit with a call for peace saying, "We are scouts from Kenya and we are Messengers of Peace. During this electoral period we urge all Kenyans to vote wisely and maintain peace. Kenya Yangu, Amani Lazima!"

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Peace for All, Kenyans for Peace

Saturday, 9th February 2013 was a very important day for the Scouting fraternity in Kiambu County. The Rover Scouts of Mount Kenya University came organized a Messengers of Peace event dubbed “Youth for Peace Forum”. The activity brought together other Scouts from different universities and colleges in Thika and beyond under the theme “Peace for All, Kenyans for Peace”. It also attended by university staff, members of the public, high school students and graced by Dr. Edwin Aketch of Global Peace Foundation, Mr. Samuel Guthua of Peace Ambassadors Kenya, Mr. Albanus Mwololo of Universal Peace Federation Somalia and Mr. Eric Wanjohi from the International Strategy Centre. The National Youth Representatives Nelson Opany and Grace Michuki, were also present to represent the Kenya Scouts Head office and Messengers of Peace Network in Kenya. The chief guest was Prof. Mbula Bahemuka from the University of Nairobi. Other partners that supported the event include Brand Kenya Board, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Picha Mtaani-Heal the Nation Initiative, National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the Kenya Forests Service.

With the General Elections due on 4th March, every speaker emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and the critical role that young people have to play in ensuring that Kenyans live in peace before, during and after the electioneering period. Nelson took time to explain to the gathering the Messengers of Peace concept and the position and contribution of Scouting in the work of peace. He called urged every Kenyan to do whatever is within their power in by whatever means possible to preach peace wherever they live. “The achievement of national peace requires the efforts of every one of us. Peace is a personal responsibility and each one has a role to play. As we go to cast our votes on March 4th -for those of us registered as voters; let us love one another, respect one another and vote wisely for those leaders who will offer selfless service to the people and promote peace-and not divide Kenyans along ethnic lines. Even as we do that, let us not forget our unending call to become Messengers of Peace. Lets us shun violence and work together to promote a more unified nation free from tribalism; a nation where each of us can live freely and happily.” he said.

Mr. Guthua encouraged said that there was need to inter-relate peace activities with other areas such as health, food security, environment and education. He further noted that there is no way to peace, but peace is the way. Dr. Aketch talked about interfaith action, family unit and the society as critical pillars for the realization of peace. He also identified five fundamental principles for the practice of peace. These included; we are belong to the same creator, we all are moral in nature, the family is a school of love and foundation for peace, breaking the barriers of tribe and religion and the Head-Heart-Hand cycle.

The Chief Guest, Prof. Mbula emphasized on the role of young people in attainment of lasting peace. She encouraged the youth to give peace a fresh start by embracing a culture that values and sustains peace founded on mutual social responsibility, accountability and reciprocity-being there for one another. “Your name as a young person is Now and Today, not Tomorrow or the Future. You must develop a strong character that says no to violence and use your strength and intelligence for the good of the nation. You must be men and women of goodwill” she said.

Apart from the speeches and talks given by the guests, the participants also made presentations enhancing the theme of the event. These included poetry, songs, dances and games. Those who excelled received various awards such as umbrellas from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Messengers of Peace badges, ribbons and scarves among others. The event ended with the planting of commemorative peace trees by all guest present.

Speech by Nelson Ochieng Opany, the Kenya scouts national Youth Representative at the Youth for Peace Forum at mount Kenya University main campus in Thika on 9th February 2013

The Chief Guest Prof. Mbula Bahemuka (University of Nairobi), Dr. Edwin Aketch (Global Peace Foundation), Mr. Samuel Guthura (Peace Ambassadors Kenya), Mr. and Mrs. Mwololo (Universal Peace Federation, Somalia), Eric Wanjohi (International Strategy Centre), Peter Gitau (Assistant Registrar-Marketing & Corporate Affairs, MKU) invited guests, the staff of Mt. Kenya University, teachers of schools present, parents, students, fellow rover scouts, ladies and gentlemen; Good Afternoon!

I am indeed delighted and honoured to join you in this important event, “Youth for Peace Forum” where we have come to talk about what really matters to our nation especially at this moment in history. On behalf of the Chief Commissioner of Kenya Scouts Association and the entire Scouting movement in Kenya, I wish to convey greetings of peace, brotherhood, love and unity to you all.

We are gathered here today united in one voice with the Message of Peace. In less than a month, we shall be going to the polls to elect our leaders; And with the memories of what happened in the previous elections still fresh in our minds, the importance of spreading peace and encouraging harmonious coexistent among all Kenyans cannot be over emphasized.

As the Scout movement, peace has always been and will continue to form an integral part of our programmes. We are very conscious in empowering young people to play a constructive role in society with the vision of creating a better world; through a culture of peace. By definition, Scouting is a voluntary, non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction such as origin, race, gender, creed, and status or ethnic/tribal background. This by itself captures the very essence of the peaceful coexistence that we very much yearn for in Kenya. We always use the Scouting movement as an example of how different people can come together, live together and work together. If all of us would embrace such an accommodative and brotherly regard for one another, then Kenya would be ridden off the shackles of bad leadership and negative ethnicity that have bedeviled our country for so many years.

To this regard we have a global Messengers of Peace Initiative running across the country and others parts of the world. It is on this background that we are gathered here today in partnership with the Rover Crew from Mount Kenya University. The Messengers of Peace Initiative promotes young men and women as Leaders for Life –in their communities and in their world. This is achieved by empowering them around five areas of work namely; training in dialogue, support for specific peace projects, support to young people living in “hot” conflict situations, capacity strengthening and globalizing the Messengers of Peace global network. Through this Scouts are changing communities and promoting peace through various local actions.
We therefore, urge each and every Kenyan to do whatever is within their power in by whatever means possible to preach peace wherever you live. The achievement of national peace requires the efforts of every one of us. Peace is a personal responsibility and each one has a role to play.

Finally, as we go to cast our votes on March 4-for those of us registered as voters; let us love one another, respect one another and vote wisely for those leaders who will offer selfless service to the people and promote peace-and not divide Kenyans along ethnic lines. Even as we do that, let us not forget our unending call to become Messengers of Peace. Lets us shun violence and work together to promote a more unified nation free from tribalism; a nation where each of us can live freely and happily.

God bless us all. God bless Kenya. Thank you!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Messengers of Peace Kenya Network

The Messengers of Peace Network was launched in Kenya in September 2012 with the training of 41 Rover Scouts (18-26 years) from various counties across the country. These young people were empowered as Messengers of Peace Community Leaders with dialogue techniques, peace building skills and enhanced capacity to work with other young people and community members in creating a better world through peace projects. The network currently has a presence in 35 counties where Scouts are working to build better and peaceful communities.

Currently, we have numerous projects being undertaken by scouts in various parts of the country. Kenya Scouts Association will soon be launching three peace initiatives targeting the coastal region including the volatile Tana Delta, Uasin Gishu County and Nakuru County.

You can connect with us and share in our work through various social media platforms by following these links:

BLOG: or by visiting the following websites:

Categories of Messengers of Peace Work

a) Training in Dialogue So many issues concerning peace and stability within communities relate to communication with one another. Scouts wishing to mediate in their own communities and spread the message of peace efficiently need to strengthen their skills of dialogue to listen actively and assess needs, as well as to propose and implement solutions.
b) Support to Specific Peace Projects
An NSO that requires external support either to begin implementation of their project or that needs support to take a good project and make it a great project, thus increasing its impact, can apply for support.
c) Support to Young People Living in "Hot" Conflict Situations
NSOs may apply for funding to help Scouts living in conflict situations. Funding can be used to develop specialized skills and other initiatives to help their communities.
d) Capacity Strengthening
Great projects require strong management. Funding are available for NSOs to build their project management capacity.
e) Globalizing the "Messengers of Peace" Network
Sharing of experiences, expertise and ideas well at both a national and regional level is vital to extend the impact of key programmes developed by one association to another or from one community to another. Support is therefore available to facilitate this exchange of personnel and knowledge.

Messengers of Peace Support Fund

The Messengers of Peace Support Fund provides financial support to service projects and Scouting initiatives around the world. The Fund enables Scouts in poorer countries to implement the types of vital projects that can change communities. It also supports project management capacity building for NSOs and Regional Offices.

The Fund targets five categories of work:

1. Training in dialogue;
2. Support for specific peace projects;
3. Support to young people living in "hot" conflict situations;
4. Capacity strengthening; and
5. Globalizing the Messengers of Peace Global Network.