Forging ethnic bonds in unsettling times
Following the highly-controversial 2007 presidential election in Kenya, widespread violence broke out between different ethnic groups. Many were beaten or killed, and others lost their homes and all their worldly belongings. Tribal-owned businesses were targeted through looting, crushing the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans. Today, as displaced people begin to resettle – with the unsettling expectation of violence at the 2012 presidential elections – they need a way to generate an income to rebuild their lives.
Across East Africa there are many other conflict and post-conflict areas where Village Enterprise can work to address peace. Village Enterprise’s Peace and Business Initiative was framed to broadly achieve the following:
- Create peer-owned businesses that serve as role models for how people of different tribes can work together to promote economic development and lead their generation in building a more peaceful Kenya.
- Empower Kenyans to start businesses that will provide much-needed income while enabling life-transforming investment into the education, nutrition, housing and sanitation for their families.
- Two or more ethnic groups represented in each business group
- Business owners serve as “Peace Advocates” in their communities and participate in savings groups
- Peace and Reconciliation training built into curriculum
Impact to Date
- 276 micro-businesses comprised of at least 2 tribes funded since July 2009
- 1,280 micro-entrepreneurs from several tribes of Kenya
- 90% of the participants felt “more friendly” and 10% felt “friendly” towards ethnic groups with whom they’d had the greatest conflict (based on evaluation completed in July 2010)