Turning Pain into Peace
Twenty six year old Felix Ochieng used to fear election season in Kenya. When he was 11, his brother Moses was almost killed during the post-election violence that broke out after the contested 2007 Kenyan Elections. After the results of the election were announced, the country was ripped apart along ethnic lines. Moses’ neighbours turned against him - they attacked him and burned his house down. He lost everything.
“I was not at peace because my brother Moses almost lost his life,” Felix said. The 2022 election season was different for Felix, and for many Kenyans, in what is widely recognized as the most peaceful election in Kenya’s history.
Felix was part of that success. Felix and his brother live in Mathare, an informal settlement in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. In 2022, through USAID Kenya’s Electoral Conflicts Mitigation and Civic Education Support (ECCES) program, We trained Felix as a Peace Ambassador. Felix and other Peace Ambassadors around the country were trained to detect triggers of electoral violence, identify potential hotspots, and respond when a conflict arises.
“Now, I have a way to help,” says Felix. He shares his story with others in his neighbourhood and works to prevent youth manipulation and violence by spreading anti-violence messages throughout Mathare.