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From conflict to Harmony: Women Pioneering Peace in Garissa

Garissa County, once plagued by insecurity, has undergone a remarkable transformation in its pursuit of peace and cohesion. The region suffered from intercommunal clashes, banditry, and terrorism, which left deep scars on its residents. Amidst this turmoil, a platform of women-led organizations under the banner of Sisters without Borders (SWB) recognized the urgent need for dialogue. They initiated a groundbreaking conversation between community members and security agents, themed “Fungua Roho,” which translates to “Open Your Heart.” This initiative aimed to ensure that women played an active role in restoring peace in Garissa, even during times of inter clan clashes.

Addressing Renewed Violence in 2023

In August 2023, Garissa faced another wave of violence between the Abdallah and Abduwaq clans. This conflict severely impacted young men, women, and children, displacing many within their own county and resulting in a tragic loss of lives. Families were uprooted, and the fragile peace that had been rebuilt over the years was shattered. In response, through the project supported by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) implemented by WIIS-HoA, women community leaders organized a dialogue involving various stakeholders, including community members, chiefs, and businesswomen.

Collaboration and knowledge sharing emerged as key strategies during the dialogue. Women can utilize their communication networks to spread messages of peace and reconciliation. Despite the vulnerabilities they face during conflicts, their collective strength lies in their ability to share knowledge and skills, creating a powerful foundation for fostering harmony in the community. This collaboration extends beyond immediate networks to include various stakeholders, ensuring that peacebuilding efforts are comprehensive and inclusive.

One focal point of the dialogue was vigilant parenting. Mothers were encouraged to take proactive steps to prevent their children from being lured into violent groups. This involves closely monitoring their children’s friendships, online activities, and any signs of withdrawal from family and friends. By staying attentive to these aspects, mothers can play a pivotal role in safeguarding their children from harmful influences and ensuring they grow up in a secure environment. This vigilance not only protects the youth but also strengthens the overall fabric of the community by preventing the spread of extremist ideologies.

The forum in Garissa marked a significant step in bringing together women from diverse ethnic backgrounds following the Abdallah and Abduwaq clashes. This event provided a platform for both sides to share their challenges and concerns. With support from their peers, these women identified strategies to enhance peaceful coexistence and foster sisterhood for sustainable peace in Garissa. The discussion revealed commonalities and built bridges of understanding, demonstrating that unity and collaboration could transcend ethnic divisions.

The Road to Sustainable Peace

The efforts of SWB and the commitment of the community underscore the critical role women play in peacebuilding. By continuing to engage in dialogues, sharing knowledge, and supporting each other, the women of Garissa have paved the way for a more secure and harmonious community. Their resilience and dedication have served as a source of hope, illustrating that even in the face of adversity, communities can come together to build a better tomorrow.

Peace and security are essential for development, and the women of Garissa, through their resilience and dedication, are proving to be the bedrock of their community’s progress. Their efforts are not just about resolving immediate conflicts but also about laying the groundwork for long-term stability and growth. As they continue to foster peace and cohesion, their efforts will undoubtedly inspire other regions facing similar challenges. The example set by Garissa’s women shows that sustainable peace is achievable when communities prioritize dialogue, understanding, and collaboration.

Community Collaboration and Government Support

During the dialogue, the County Government’s commitment was evident with the pledge to provide the necessary support to ensure that women can continue to contribute to the peace and stability of Garissa. This support includes supporting community projects and platforms for women to voice their concerns and offer solutions.

The collaboration between community members, security agents, and women’s organizations under SWB has been pivotal. These dialogues have fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility among the community members. The community’s involvement in peacebuilding initiatives ensures that the solutions are locally driven and culturally relevant, increasing the likelihood of sustainable peace.

Building Bridges of Understanding

The dialogue facilitated by SWB provided an opportunity for women from different ethnic backgrounds to come together and discuss their common challenges and aspirations. This inclusive approach helped build bridges of understanding and fostered a sense of unity among the participants. By sharing their experiences and perspectives, the women were able to identify shared goals and collaborate on strategies to achieve them.

The emphasis on sisterhood and mutual support was a recurring theme during the dialogue. Women from both the Abdallah and Abduwaq clans expressed their commitment to working together to prevent future conflicts and promote peace. This spirit of collaboration and solidarity is essential for creating a stable and harmonious community.


Garissa’s journey from conflict to cohesion is a testament to the power of grassroots initiatives and the critical role women play in peacebuilding. As the community continues to build on these foundations, the hope is that Garissa will emerge as a model of resilience and harmony, inspiring other regions to follow in their footsteps.

The transformation of Garissa County from a region plagued by insecurity to one that is building a foundation for lasting peace and cohesion is a remarkable journey. The efforts of Sisters without Borders, led by WIIS-HoA, have been crucial in this process. By fostering dialogue, promoting vigilant parenting, and encouraging community collaboration, women have played an indispensable role in peacebuilding. Their resilience, dedication, and proactive involvement have set a powerful example of how communities can come together to create a better future.

As Garissa continues to build on these peacebuilding efforts, the hope is that other regions facing similar challenges will be inspired to adopt similar approaches. The legacy of the women of Garissa is a testament to the power of unity, dialogue, and collaboration in achieving sustainable peace and security. With ongoing support from the County Government and other stakeholders, the journey towards lasting peace in Garissa is set to continue, benefiting not only the current residents but also future generations