Promoting the right to life, liberty and security through grassroots youth empowerment : the case of the Maji Mazuri organization in the Mathare informal settlements, Kenya following the 2007 post-election violence
This dissertation focused on how youth in post-conflict and conflict prone communities directly and indirectly promote the right to life, liberty and security of person through grassroots youth empowerment initiatives and organizations. The research was centered on both a theoretical analysis of youth empowerment and peace education and as a case study focuses on one particular organization in the Mathare Informal Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya by the name of Maji Mazuri. Through a two month field work experience in Nairobi, this thesis sought to develop a better understanding of the importance of grassroots organizations in communities experiencing conflict or which are conflict prone. As the residents of Mathare informal settlements experienced a high volume of violent conflict during the months that followed the election in December 2007, this case was at the core of my study. The field work focused on an ethnographic analysis which took the form of observation, informal and semi-formal conversation with staff members of the organization, youth group members, and others. The findings of the research reveal that while theoretical frameworks provide an important base, cultural, social, political, and economic context dictate the successes, and failures of grassroots organizations seeking to empower youth. These same conditions also hinder the use of human rights discourse in post-conflict youth empowerment schemes. Youth are mostly targeted in times of conflict because of their vulnerability due to social structures, unemployment, and poverty. However, targeting youth is not sufficient, empowerment and peace building initiatives must also include those involved with and pertaining to the political and social structures of the community, in the case of Mathare these are the village elders and chiefs. In order to increase outreach, trust, and understanding the implemented strategies must be developed alongside and by members of the affected community. This is a precondition for success in communities such as the Mathare informal settlements. The dissertation aims to broaden the discussion on post-conflict reconstruction to include grassroots organizations targeting youth, and aspires to bring to light the positivity and hope which pour throughout post-conflict and conflict prone communities.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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