Posted by Sharon Schendel on Oct 29, 2017
Global Scholar and Children's Peace Initiative Senior Project Manager Jane Kinyua exchanges flags with President Klaus Gubernator
Rotary Global Scholar Jane Kinyua joined our October 26, 2017 meeting to exchange a club flag from her host club, Rotary Club of Ruiru, and to talk about the Children’s Peace Initiative (CPI), a project that received support from a Global Grant on which Rotary Club of Del Mar was the primary international partner and for which Jane serves as Senior Program Manager.
For years, communities in northern Kenya have endured an ongoing violent cycle of tribal conflicts. CPI was founded with the vision of engaging children to break this cycle of violence. Jane described five interventions that CPI undertook to help children view members of neighboring tribes in a more positive way.  
Intervention 1 was a children’s peace camp that brought children from two warring communities together for a five-day camp filled with activities designed to help children develop cross-tribe friendships. Each child was given the goal of developing a new friendship with a member of the other tribe. Intervention 2 used storytelling to illustrate the beauty of the neighboring tribes that can help erase negative images and attitudes. For Intervention 3, CPI arranged an inter-community culture celebration to help participants embrace and appreciate cultural differences, while also reducing fear of opposing tribes. Intervention 4 involved an inter-community parent meeting. Jane said that if they had simply announced that such a meeting was being held, the parents would likely not have attended. Instead, they encouraged the children to ask their parents to come meet their new friends, and this approach raised participation significantly. Last, Intervention 5 they called “Grab Peace by the Horns” wherein parents of participating children who had gone above and beyond to promote peace between warring communities were rewarded with a heifer. When the heifer gave birth, the calf was presented to the other community, thus strengthening the bond between the communities.
CPI trained local community members in the approaches they used, thus ensuring program sustainability, one of the requirements for Rotary-sponsored projects.  The success of CPI’s efforts is evident in the adoption of this approach by other countries in Africa.
Jane holds a B.A. from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.  When exchanging flags with President Klaus Gubernator, Jane explained that the Rotary Club of Ruiru flag features a coffee plant, the main cash crop in the region.