590 pupils from three community conservancies in Marsabit County came together in February to promote peace through an inter-conservancies football tournament.
Access to dwindling natural resources and historic grievances have led to heightened tensions between the Gabra community of Shurr Conservancy, the Borana of Jaldesa and the Rendille of Songa over the past few months.
Several cases of conflict between the neighbouring communities in Marsabit County lead to the conservancies reaching out to NRT for support in organising a school football tournament. Their hope was that the sport would unite the communities and encourage peaceful dialogue between warring factions.
On Saturday 3rd February 2018, just under 600 school pupils - both girls and boys - descended on Bubisa Primary School in Shurr Conservancy for a much-anticipated football tournament. They were joined by teachers, community members, conservancy boards and managers, as well as Susan Kiringo and Julius Lolkinyati from the NRT education and community team. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy's Conservation Education Officer Jonathan Odongo also joined.
The tournament was enjoyed as much by the players as the spectators and provided an opportunity for the NRT team to facilitate informal peace meetings between community representatives, as well as talk to the children about wildlife conservation.
"We also spoke to the kids about good discipline, hard work, career choices and encouraging their sisters and brothers who are not in school to attend," says Julius. "Parents of the children involved in the tournament and the talks were inspired to bring about positive changes too, having seen their children interacting and learning with peers from other communities."
“Interacting together and appreciating our cultural diversity, being our sisters and brothers keepers are the best practices we should embrace for a brighter future ahead of us" said Emmanual Kochale, regional coordinator for NRT North East.