Holding Leaders to Account: Sustainability and Nonviolent Social Change in Kenya – 2012

Many Friends and visitors attended this memorable workshop at Stafford Friends Meeting. Laura Shipler Chico, Programme Manager for Quaker Peace and Social Witness work in Africa, focused on her programme’s support for Kenyan Quakers and others who are building skills and strategies in active non-violence.

Laura speaking at a Quaker gathering
Zawedi (left) and Laura (right) speaking at a gathering of Quaker peace-builders in Africa

She took us through examples of the teaching techniques used, and told stories of some of the most interesting and successful campaigns in Kenya.  We heard about the boda boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers who put a stop to fraudulent registration scams, the farmers who took on a bank when drought ruined their crops, and community members who have stalled the construction of a dam that would displace 50,000 people.  First, though we were asked what we would in some of the situations she described – a challenging and stimulating experience.

Laura finished on a note of hope, hope that non-violent action for change is on the cusp of achieving a transformation in the way conflict is dealt with at grass roots level in Kenya

“Somewhere within our imperfect selves, however hidden under layers of grief and loss and tragedy and disillusion there is something good, something wise, something knowing. And it is this kernel that pushes us to keep struggling to fix our broken world.”

Laura Shipler Chico