Photo Story from Kenya and Uganda

In September 2009, MRG Conflict Prevention Head Chris Chapman traveled to Kampala, Uganda, and Nakuru, Kenya to meet with CSO representatives working on issues of conflict in the regions. These projects are in collaboration with CECORE and Endorois Welfare Council (EWC), holding training workshops on peace building and conflict resolution.

Between these training sessions, Mr. Chapman traveled to the Endorois and Ogiek communities, meeting with a local peace committee in the Endorois village of Arabal. Community members voiced their concern over lack of representation and media attention concerning issues of poverty and internally displaced persons as a result of conflict. Following this visit, Mr. Chapman continued to the Marishoni region in the Mau Forest to visit a primary school and tour the community. It was brought to Mr. Chapman’s attention that researchers from the University of Leicester had recently discovered algae on Endorois territory and are currently marketing it and making a profit which is shared with the Kenyan government-profit that the Endorois community fear they will never share.

These findings highlight the tenuous situation of the Endorois and Ogiek communities who live on once traditional lands appropriated by the Kenyan government. In the past 30 years, these separate minority groups has seen their pastoral territories increasingly encroached upon, putting at risk societal cohesion and the resources that they depend on for their livelihoods. The allotment of National Parks and reserves have further exacerbated this conflict. As a result, poverty and displacement are common within the communities and although efforts are being made to encourage community representation (as is the case with the Endorois Welfare Council) individuals still struggle to support themselves in this context.

A recent court ruling by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights may go a long way to combat the damage done to these communities as it has been determined that the Kenyan government’s forceful displacement of these minority groups is unlawful and in direct breach of basic human rights. While this is a major victory for minority groups not only in Kenya but worldwide, there is still much work to be done to ensure that groups such as the Ogiek and Endorois maintain the autonomy and representation necessary to ensure protection of basic human rights and claims to land.

Contact

For more inforamtion contact Mohamed Motavu, MRG's Africa Regional Information Officer via the Contact page. 

Gallery

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The 2 children on the right are son and daughter of a local Endorois Welfare Council board member in a community visited by MRG staff.
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A committee member of the Peace Committee in the community of Arabal listens to cases brought before the council. The Peace Committee serves as a forum for resolution of local issues of conflict or disagreement and serves as customary law in the communit
 MRG-GAL-814
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While touring the area with Wilson Kipsang Kipkazi, Secretary of the Endorois Welfare Council, MRG staff photographed the affects of extreme poverty and drought in the region and the economic challenges facing the indigenous communities
 MRG-GAL-815
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Head teacher of a local Mariashoni primary school in the Ogiek Mau Forest region of Kenya.
 MRG-GAL-816
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Local board member shows MRG staff around his village located in Mchongoi region.
 MRG-GAL-817
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Local board member shows MRG staff around his village located in Mchongoi region.
 MRG-GAL-818
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Council of Arabel Peace Committee overseeing resolution of a recent raid on Endorois and Ilchamus livestock in which a group of Pokot stole 500 goats from the 2 communities. While the livestock were recovered, the Endorois complain that the Anti Stock Th
 MRG-GAL-819
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Site of scared lake now located within Kenyan National Park. The Endorois have been removed from these lands as a result of such developments
 MRG-GAL-820
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Ogiek village board members, partners with the Ogiek People’s Development Program (OPDP)
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A board member of the Endorois Welfare Council stands in front of his house with his children
 MRG-GAL-822
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Date: 01/09/2010

Countries:

Kenya
Uganda

Categories:

Statelessness
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Copyright Holder: Minority Rights Group

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