• About 700 students took part in this years' national peace debate championships.
• Amani Clubs set up in over 2,500 schools with more than 120,000 students as active members.
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission has turned to secondary schools in their bid to quell tribal confrontations in the country.
The commission believes students have the key to cohesion, hence its support for the Amani Clubs National Debate.
This year’s four-day debate at St Thomas Girls’ High School in Kilifi brought together 70 schools and more than 700 debaters. It ends today.
NCIC senior programme officer Richard Nderitu said on Wednesday that students have demonstrated a high degree of cohesion as they live as a community despite their different ethnic and economic backgrounds.
“Amani clubs are aimed at inculcating values right attitudes and promote appreciation of diversity tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflicts. So far, under Amani clubs, we have trained 2,000 teachers across 29 counties to promote and establish Amani clubs," Nderitu said.
These teachers and patrons have established functional Amani clubs in over 2,500 schools with more than 120,000 students being active members, he said.
The NCIC official said the minds of secondary school students are not yet corrupted. As such the learners are the best messengers of peaceful cohesion.
The students also undertake peace and cohesion initiatives in the community.
The conflict between Rwanda and Uganda also came up during the debate.
East Africa Schools Debate Council coordinator Clement Eyinda said the tiff has derailed efforts to take the debates across East African countries but expressed optimism that the matter will be resolved.
EASDC championships bring together debaters from Kenyan, Rwandese and Ugandan secondary schools.
“Initially we were doing very well. The poor relationship between Rwanda and Uganda has affected our debating programme for the East African Region. In April, we had a tour of patrons for Amani peace clubs and EASDC in Rwanda. We expected to be joined by patrons from Uganda but they did not turn up. We are calling for a truce between the two countries,” Eyinda said.
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association Coast regional coordinator Seif Dzillah said the Amani debating clubs have helped reduce rampage in schools.
This year’s debate is the second and it has shown a great improvement.
“Last year, we held the debate in Nakuru Boys’ and Girls’ high schools and we had 20 counties represented. The number has greatly increased. We know the peace crusade is gaining momentum," Dzillah said.
“We are targeting the Northeastern areas and some Rift Valley areas where there are conflicts."
Edited by R.Wamochie