Journalists in Nandi County were engaged on Monday on how to enhance peace and cohesion in society in a bid to foster unity and coexistence.
The engagement, which was organised by a youth group in Nandi dubbed ‘Underit Youth Group (UYG), which is funded by USAID in partnership with Act! and Uraia Trust, seeks to work with all stakeholders that can take part in amplifying peace messages in society.
Speaking during the forum, which was held in a hotel in Nandi Hills, UYG coordinator Jacob Sanga noted that the media can serve as drivers of peace in diverse ways, including building bridges between people and groups, improving governance, and informing the public on the importance of participation in democratic processes.
Sanga noted that one of the things that jeopardise peace in society is the issue of boundaries, especially along the County borders, adding that the media can foster cohesion and peace among the communities by educating them on the importance of peaceful coexistence as well as how to promote peace.
“We know peace could be disrupted by boundary issues. The media plays a key role in ensuring good governance, peace, and cohesion in a Country. It is the media that can amplify peace messages to reach all people,” said Sanga.
Francis Ng’eny, the UYG project officer, shed light on the legal provisions in the boundary delimitation, an exercise that is expected to take place soon, urging the media to play their role of informing the public to attend public participation forums to be able to raise their views and ensure boundaries are demarcated in such a way that will benefit the community by ensuring unity among communities.
Ng’eny noted that UYG had also engaged eight-day secondary schools along the Nandi-Kisumu, Nandi, Vihiga, and Nandi Kericho borders, where they established peace clubs to act as a platform to discuss issues that threaten peace in different communities and how to overcome them, thus helping to promote peace in the schools as well as their community at an early age.
Ng’eny called on the media to intervene in encouraging the youths to understand the need to take part in governance issues and all democratic processes, noting that they are instrumental in ensuring peace and cohesion in a nation.
“One of the greatest challenges we have in our society is the lack of participation in democratic, electoral, and governance processes. We want peace to exist even after the electoral process. Peace and cohesion are key to the progression of any Country. We should utilise all platforms, be they churches, schools, barazas, or chamas, to pass on peace messages,” he said.
Ng’eny Sheila Jemutai, UYG Assistance Project officer, called on youths to utilise social media platforms to preach peace as well as educate the public on the importance of public participation in good governance.
“Journalists and youths are the most active on social media platforms, so they can effectively utilise Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among others, to pass on peace and cohesion messages as well as inform the public on why it is necessary to participate in democratic processes,” she said.
By Ruth Mainye