Widows from Elgeyo Marakwet County and three other rift valley counties that are West Pokot, Turkana and Baringo have launched a peace initiative to help mitigate insecurity in the Kerio Valley region.
The increasing insecurity in the region which is being accelerated by cattle rustling has mostly affected women and children who have lost their husbands and fathers through bandit attacks and cattle rustling.
To mitigate the issue the State Department for Gender held an engagement meeting on women peace and security in the Kerio Valley.
Speaking at Chesongoch Catholic Church in Marakwet East Sub County, at the launching of the peace meeting involving widows from the counties affected by the insecurity, Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Linah Jebii Kilimo and State Department for Gender Chief Administrative Secretary Beatrice Elachi said the government has decided to use widows in the fight against banditry and cattle rustling.
Kilimo said there was a need to find ways of addressing challenges facing families that have been affected by banditry and cattle rustling. The peace program dubbed the Potuma Widows Peace Initiative is supported by the Ministry of Public Service and Gender and sponsored by United Nations Population Fund and the Federation of Women Lawyers.
“Children and women are the most affected whenever there is insecurity and through this initiative they will take lead in peace efforts,” said Kilimo.
She added that the government believes it is of importance to use the most affected by insecurity in preaching for peace in the Kerio region as they understand and feel the pain.
Fida Deputy Director Wanjiru Kamanda said the organization will provide legal aid and counseling to widows who have been traumatized by the banditry in the region.
Kamanda added that the widows have passed through vast afflictions after losing their spouses to banditry and cattle rustling and Fida together with other organizations will provide them with counseling that will help deal with the pain so that they are able to move on and provide for their families.
Elachi said that the main objective of gathering the widows was to jointly strategize and set common priorities in enhancing women’s role and peace building in their respective areas with an aim to promote peace.
She called on the communities within the region to embrace unity and live together in harmony.
By Rennish Okong’o