Date of Submission
Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)
Dr. Akanmu Adebayo
Dr. Debarati Sen
Dr. Brandon Lundy
Following the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya, 650,000 people, comprising men, women, youth, and children, fled their communities, and found refuge in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps. Although the Kenyan Government resettled some of the IDPs later in eco-villages and inner city settlements, seven years later there were still 309,200 in IDPs camps across the country. The objective of this qualitative multi-sited single case study is to explore the role of women’s groups in peacebuilding efforts following the post-election conflict. The study focuses on four grassroots-level local women’s groups in the Bankala and Mambira eco-villages and an inner-city settlement in the Rift-Valley, Kenya. The study uses the human security approach to peacebuilding to examine the activities and initiatives of the women’s groups. It also adopts the African feminisms theoretical framework that focuses on the African context of the settlements, female autonomy and cooperation, the importance of kinship, and the inclusion of all members of the community. The methodology involves the analysis of 28 individual interviews, five focus group discussions with 32 participants, participant observations, and published and unpublished documents. The findings indicate that the economic, social, and cultural initiatives of the women’s groups contributed to meeting dimensions of human security in the displaced persons’ settlements. Additionally, the findings signify that a community-based approach to peacebuilding that involved women, men, youth, and children allowed for sustainable structures of peace. Finally, I recommend the involvement of external organizations and the Kenyan government in collaborative partnerships and interventions with the women’s groups in order to sustain their peacebuilding initiatives beyond the grassroots levels.
Keywords: Peacebuilding, women’s groups, Internally Displaced Persons, eco-villages, human security, grassroots level, community involvement, post-election conflict.