On Sunday, July 14th, Alice Nderitu from Kenya’s Institute for Inclusive Security visited Daraja’s campus to give a talk to the girls about Women Peacemakers. Alice has a great deal of experience in peacemaking,
Before she spoke, founder Jason Doherty challenged the girls with two tasks: first, to take time to talk with Alice during her one-day visit, and to get to know her. Second, he challenged all the girls to strive to take on the title of “peacemaker” in some capacity throughout their lives.
Alice started her talk by asking all the girls sitting in the back row to move up and sit in the front row. Peacemakers, like women, she explained, must be proactive and have no fear.
“Peacemaking work,” Alice described, “is defined by courage.”
From there, the girls intently listened to Alice’s talk for upwards of two hours. The engagement of the girls on this topic was staggering; it was clear how important this topic is to every single Daraja girl.
A major take away point from Alice’s talk, that the girls chattered about for hours following, was that the point of peacemaking is not to solve the conflict for two opposing forces, but to help create a climate where the two groups or people can solve the conflict on their own.
She challenged Daraja students to demolish the environments where conflict takes place, by avoiding hate speech between tribes and dismantling stereotypes.
“Step out of ethnicity when possible,” Alice advised, “become a Kenyan.”
After Alice’s talk ended and many questions were asked and answered, some girls continued on with their day, eating lunch and studying. However, many girls took Jason up on his first challenge, and asked Alice questions until she left campus.
Students were so inspired by Alice and her talk, that usual Saturday duties were put off to ask more questions and hear more insights, until everyone waved Alice off during her departure. That evening, girls expressed their hope for Alice’s return to campus.
“I want to go back to my community, and help them find peace,” explained Anastacia, Form 4.
“I really loved having Alice here, I hope she comes back” reported Dianah, Form 2.
Alice’s message was a great way for student’s to see pillar 2, of Daraja’s 4 pillars, embodied in a career. “Embrace differences. Treat all with dignity and respect.”