In Northwestern Kenya along the border with Uganda, there rages a conflict that has gone on since time immemorial. This remote land, far from the urban center of Nairobi, is inhabited by several tribes. To claim the rights to water and grazing rights for cattle, they fight to the death. It is common in this area for men, women and children to be killed in this lFong-standing conflict – a conflict over water and grass.
The three primary tribes in this area are the Pokots from Kenya, the Turkana also from Kenya and the Karamojong from Uganda. All told, there are nearly 100,000 people involved. Their disputes are well known not only in Kenya but throughout the world. There is no peace for these people – only fear of scarcity and fear of violence.
WorldServe wants to change that. We want to trade fear for security, conflict for harmony, and water for peace. Yes, providing a common source of shared water will be a path to peace for the Pokot, Turkana and Karamojong.
WorldServe is working with church, community and government leaders to bring new sources of clean water to this land, to help alleviate the scarcity that plagues the people. A borehole will be drilled in at least three different disputed sites, representing one borehole for water per tribe. There will also be a central borehole drilled.
Once water is flowing from the new water wells, WorldServe will lead a historic and symbolic walk to show the power of Water for Peace. A different representative from WorldServe will be with each tribe, along with tribal leaders and a camera crew filming the pilgrimage. The Pokot, Turkana and Karamojong will each symbolically and physically walk from the site where they received the gift of water to a central spot. They will talk about what it means to have clean water, and how this gift is a real opportunity to replace tribalism with peace. Each tribe may walk as many as 20 miles to reach that central spot where water flows freely for all, and the joy of reconciliation can be experienced.
Bishop Peter Njiri, a trusted leader who cares for nearly 4,000 Assemblies of God churches, will preach a message of reconciliation. WorldServe is praying and hoping for a tremendous outpouring during this Water for Peace initiative in early 2009.