GSN launched its first impact report “Growing Connection, Resiliency and Agency: The impact of community-led trauma-informed peacebuilding in response to violent extremism in Kenya” at the second annual Paris Peace Forum (12 November 2019).

Mwamko Mpya Introduction

Liberate yourselves”, he said, “speak the language you are most comfortable speaking, express yourself in the way that feels most natural to you.” That was one of the first sentences that Bonface, the host, spoke welcoming the group of eager participants to October 2019’s Mwamko Mpya workshop.


His point was to emphasise that this is a safe space. A space where the participants could be their authentic selves, a space where they could share their real stories, express their raw fears, outline their hopes. It was a space where they were not only expected to be their true selves, but the success of the workshop is hinged on this authenticity.


And share they did – happily, boldly, beautifully, intentionally.


These are a few of their stories; stories that we are honored and privileged to be partakers of. May their voices encourage us to work with added urgency and greater insight into why the program needs to reach more and more members of our security forces.


INTRODUCTION


I belong


What came to mind when you received the call from GSN inviting you to this workshop?


“I felt like I belong. I felt that I belong to an institution that cares about my wellbeing, I felt that I belonged to a community that is concerned with the mental health of its people, I felt like I belonged to a family that desires the best for me.”
All that from a simple phone call?


“Yes.”


This is what a participant in the October 2019 Mwamko Mpya training said he felt when a staff member at GSN called him with details about the workshop. His sense of belonging that emanated from that call speaks volumes about the reception that the Mwamko Mpya initiative receives from the members of the uniformed forces that GSN partners within this ground-breaking program.


Kumbe tulikuwa tumelala (Alas, so we have been asleep!)
When one participant heard the name of the program Mwamko Mpya, her first thought was “kumbe tulikuwa tumelala, sasa tutaamka.” (Alas, so we have been asleep, now we will wake up).


Many of the participants came with huge expectations for the October 2019 Mwamko Mpya training which can best be summed up by the term, learning. Many of them are counsellors at their various stations whose work daily brings the wounded at their doorsteps. Their main aim was thus to learn how to better handle their own stress and trauma and in turn equip their colleagues with the tools needed to handle their own stress and trauma.

Maria’s Story

I’m very proud of my heritage. It is what makes me who I am, it’s what makes me unique. I come from a family of police officers. By many people’s standards, I

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Jonah’s Story

Three years, that’s how long it took. Three years of wondering what had happened, three years of wondering what was going on in his mind, three years of wondering if there had

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Sally’s Story

“So, who exactly will you be counselling here?” Her boss asked before walking away. He didn’t even give her a chance to answer the question. She was deeply hurt and disappointed and

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“Unfair treatment”

“We in fact need well learned people of your calibre working in Katilu, I remember my boss telling me gleefully as he gave me my transfer letter. I had been transferred to

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“Leopard”

I heard the gunshots before I felt the pain. They were loud and all consuming. I thought I would never hear again. It never occurred to me that the shots had landed

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“Hostile Neighbors”

I rubbed my eyes because I couldn’t believe what I was just seeing. I closed my eyes and opened them again. Never would I have expected to find what I just did

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