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December 17, 2018

Amani clubs help fight bullying, radicalisation in schools

Amani clubs association chairperson in Kwale county Kimani Kibe (left) accompanied by other teachers at Dr. Babla secondary school in Diani-Kwale county. The Amani club has seen curbing of bullying, indiscipline and preaches against violent extremism and radicalization in schools and society.Photo by ALLOYS MUSYOKA
Amani clubs association chairperson in Kwale county Kimani Kibe (left) accompanied by other teachers at Dr. Babla secondary school in Diani-Kwale county. The Amani club has seen curbing of bullying, indiscipline and preaches against violent extremism and radicalization in schools and society.Photo by ALLOYS MUSYOKA

The launch of Amani clubs in 2013 has helped curb bullying, indiscipline and radicalisation in schools.

Waa girls' secondary school patron Brian Kinjabi said bullying that has existed in schools for many years is fading away.

In fact new students, Kinjabi says, are helped to settle in quickly by older students, thanks to the Amani club training.

“It has created a sense of respect among students. Students councils and peace clubs have solved most of the indiscipline issues in schools without the involvement of teachers,” he adds.

Due to the initiative, the performance of the students has greatly improved.

Khalim Amani, a four student at Dr Babla secondary school in Diani, Kwale county, she says the club has helped her to cope with life in school.

"All counties should establish such clubs in schools to help spread the peace gospel," she said.

“For the 2017 general election and other elections to be peaceful and for us to avoid what happened in 2007-2008, it is important that all schools start  peace clubs. They help to end negative ethnicity and tribalism,” she said.

“We have also been able to conserve the environment by planting trees in schools and at the Diani health centre,” she added.

Her sentiments are echoed by Omar Chiboga, also a form four student at Dr Babla secondary school, who says through the club, students have been able to live harmoniously in school.

“I have been able to solve issues in school peacefully without physical engagement with colleagues,” he says.

Chiboga adds that they have also been able to deal with the thorny issue of violent extremism and radicalisation.

“We are talking to friends in and outside school that there is no need of being radicalised to kill innocent people because our religion is against such things. Many youths are lured to join extremist groups with lucrative jobs outside the country and end up being radicalised and taught to fight,” he said.

He said they have sensitised colleagues in schools to avoid friends whose aim is to radicalise them.

Chiboga says teachers have been very instrumental to the success of the peace clubs.

“In fact they want more students to join the clubs. Some students were very indisciplined but they have changed,” he added.

Kinjabi said peace club members at Waa have established a peace square at the school where issues of peace are discussed.

“We sensitise students on the effects of radicalisation. We have had top police officers talking to them about the issue. It is a matter of being pro-active so that our students can avoid people who try to radicalise them and sensitise their colleagues outside school,” he said.

Amani Clubs Association chairperson in Kwale county Kimani Kibe said the clubs can help next year's polls be peaceful since students can spread the gospel to the society they come from.

“If the clubs can be adopted in all schools it will help our students grow up knowing that regardless of their ethnic background, we are all one people. Primary schools, colleges and higher learning institutions should have peace clubs,” he said.

“Students have understood we need each other and that sanctity of life ought to be respected. We have had students with relatives who join illegal groups and radicalised and so they have firsthand experience. They cannot afford to fall victim to such groups,” he said.

Kibe said through organising activities in various school, they managed to have inter-school competitions focusing on furthering the agenda of Amani clubs in the country.

Some of their major achievements include reducing the number of strikes in schools, developing conflict resolution mechanisms in schools and showcasing that diversity is a strength that ought to be celebrated.

Kwale, being the pioneer of Amani club initiative in Kenya, has 24 secondary schools which have joined since 2013 with more than 1,000 students being members.

"We are still asking more schools to join us so that students can realise the importance of peace clubs in the country," Kibe said.

 

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