The idea of a PEACE CARAVAN was conceived in October 2003 by VYP, as a young woman centre and drive initiative. Having been living in a slum area, Rachel Wambui Kung’u saw that a fire brigade took an hour and more to arrive at the area which is only 10km from the city center, incase of fire. The area with a semi permanent structure of timber and iron sheet, the fire could gutter down at least 50 homesteads leaving them homeless and several loss of lives.
Also the increased paraffin depot in the area majority set in a residential plot caused Wambui heartache. School drop outs due to high school fees, thanks for the free primary education, which has seen majority of the children in school, and with families living for less than a dollar a day was at the peak. This caused insecurity and prostitution to look for a piece meal, drug trafficking, increased number of street children, early marriage for girls who try to look for opportunities, and majority of them having children at there teen age led to increased poverty and HIV/AIDS. Tenant landlord conflicts were in the open especially among the youth.
With all this issues and many more, Wambui felt there was a dire need for information and human rights education. She saw that community solidarity was the key to self and community development. Being a youth and especially a young woman, it was obvious that security was and still is paramount for survival – and her question was, how do I (Wambui) ensure that am secure in my homestead and in the country at large? She talked to her fellow youth and the answer was clear:
Youth’s worst enemy is idleness; the jargon has given birth to drug abuse and trafficking, poverty, HIV/AIDS, crime and the survival for the fittest.
Hence the idea to start the PEACE CARAVAN was to encourage the youth to form as many youth groups as possible at there own local community in order to tap the available resources within the area for self –reliance and community development. To emphasize that education is not the only way to success but teamwork, hard work, discovering own talents and turning them to a career into a better future.
The PEACE CARAVAN was a pilot project in 2004, which was envisaged to be held annually so as to educate other young people especially women and youth in rural remote areas, marginalized and the vulnerable. Being a challenging event, it is meant for only serious youth leaders who are determined to be the change they want to see. This initiative addresses youth at the grassroot level, it has come up clear that bottom up approach is a rewarding strategy in the process of change.
PEACE CARAVAN areas of focus are:
- Peace as a tool for development and growth
- Youth in leadership and decision making for their future.
- Entrepreneurship and achievement of Millennium development Goals
- Environmental conservation
- Reproductive health
The PEACE CARAVAN will be an annual event which will use different routes and with different theme depending on the issues rose from the previous groups which will be formed and/or incorporated during the campaign, who will be among the organizing team. This will also help in the evaluation and monitoring of the groups/projects on already formed and the impact.
Wambui says, “l lead by example and I am a living life experience”