GSN launched its first impact report “Growing Connection, Resiliency and Agency: The impact of community-led trauma-informed peacebuilding in response to violent extremism in Kenya” at the second annual Paris Peace Forum (12 November 2019).

Kumekucha (It’s a New Dawn)

Kumekucha is the Kiswahili translation for “it’s a new dawn”. In coastal slang, it also means “something is going down”. The name was selected in order to symbolize a self-awakening, harnessing the idea of a new, energized beginning for Kenya regardless of our past.

Currently the project is partnering with the County Government of Mombasa targeting Likoni, Mombasa Island, Kisauni sub-locations; as well Majengo, Nairobi and Kwale.

The Kumekucha program is a community-led social cohesion program that focuses on the transformative power of what is often overlooked the courage and grace of ordinary people; the communal impulse to be whole again and the will to move past the ravages of violence

Kumekucha is a practical, hands-on approach which presents the key concepts of and introduction to trauma, effects of trauma, coping mechanisms, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, resiliency, and ‘dealing with the past’ clearly, incorporating cultural stories, and artwork from Kenyans which provides a backdrop of a very realistic context.

The main drivers of the program are trained Community Facilitators (CFs) who are community volunteers.

CFs guide 12-15 participants through the 12-week program which include discussions regarding and introduction to trauma, effects of trauma, coping mechanisms, the cycles of victimhood, aggression and change.

Kumekucha: It’s A New Dawn solidifies, complements and expands state-centric efforts to P/CVE.

This initiative has galvanized individuals, communities and institutions to contribute to;

  • a momentum for peace,
  • encouraged the emergence of community peace initiatives not originally envisaged in the program design, and, above all,
  • increased the number of young people resisting provocations to violence at the Kenyan Coast and other parts of the country.

Kumekucha is a unique intervention. Unlike other P/CVE program, it is designed as a volunteer social movement thriving on:

  • a shared vision of peaceful change from the ground up;
  • distributed leadership, agency and initiative at the local level by those directly affected by violent extremism;
  • shared values, strategies and decision making processes that sustain actions for change.

Kumekucha has resulted in a fully owned and locally driven initiative in Mombasa, Kwale and parts of Nairobi. GSN has spurred renewed agency and the willingness of people of all walks to get involved more deeply in the barefoot transformative work in their communities.

Today, in Lamu, Kilifi, Majengo and Mombasa Kumekucha peer groups continue to meet, and participants continue to engage in organic P/CVE activities such as, working with prisoners, mentoring youth, and meeting with mothers and families of young people who have been killed or disappeared.

Through our reflective practice and research, we are prepared to assert that a typical NGO project will not make lasting change: only a culturally rooted social movement will.