“We envisaged that our praxis would problematize peace, redefine social justice and historicize development. In so doing, we hoped that we would evolve a culture of peace and development that has humans at the center of it, thus joining us to our rich indigenous traditions and spirituality” – Patrick Ochieng’, Director
From evaluation of its projects and programs as well as internal reflection on its praxis, Ujamaa Center recognizes the following as the critical strategic questions for the next project cycle as she embarks on the 2006 – 2010 strategic phase: Given the lessons of the past years as well as the mission of Ujamaa Center, what successes and emerging opportunities need to be consolidated and serve as the basis for new initiatives?
(i)Does Ujamaa need to redefine the “problem” given the changing socio-political and global realities due to its legal definition and available resources?
(ii)How could Ujamaa respond to the sensitive political and social justice issues especially relating to land and resources distribution at the Coast? Should Ujamaa revisit its strategy?
(iii) Drawing from the lessons of the past program cycle, should Ujamaa widen the geographical scope of its work?
(iv) How can Ujamaa expand the knowledge and conceptual base including Indigenous Knowledge System on nonviolence, conflict resolution and disaster mitigation?
(v)How could Ujamaa ensure and facilitate greater understanding in gender dimensions in peace and development work?
(vi) While acknowledging the need for external funding, how can Ujamaa ensure some degree of sustainability of its programs? What are the possibilities for generating in-country funding?
These questions were put to the Board of the Center in two sessions held in Nairobi in 2005. Following this a consultant was engaged to undertake with all stakeholders of Ujamaa an in depth, extensive consultation to craft a road map that has taken several months. Two sessions were held in Mombasa with staff and CMs to carry this strategic thinking further. Following which a first draft was developed. This has been shared extensively with partners, supporters and communities and useful input, critique added. As a result some new proposed projects are as follows:
a) Strengthening urban governments in planning investments in adaptation
This project seeks to reduce the vulnerability of poor populations in the three cities of East Africa (Kisumu, Mwanza and Kampala) to climate change by mobilizing Local Authority leaders and chief officers as well as all the other actors concerned to inform political decision-making. It will do so by means of three pilot projects in rural and urban populations. The project will emphasize the generation, organization and communication of information on the risks resulting from climate change, climate variability and extreme climatic events, as well as preparation for their effects on food security and water supply. The lessons drawn from the three experiences can then be applied in larger scale projects covering the whole of local authorities in East Africa.
b) Collaborative Programme on Environmental Governance in the Yala Wetlands
This is three (3) years integrated environmental governance and capacity building programme. The joint project developed through consultative process involving several organizations and groups representing diverse stakeholders in the region aims at promoting participatory management of the Wetland and its resources while securing access and user rights to the resources by enhancing the capacity of individuals and groups to participate in policy and legislative processes with bearings to their livelihoods. By promoting environmental governance and livelihood initiatives, the project is seeking to conserve resource base through sustainable use and management.
c) Reinforcement of Fisher folks civil Societies in East Africa
The overall objective of the Programme is to create conditions whereby fisher fork groups and Community Based Organisations working within the Lake Victoria basin can play a more effective role in the design and implementation of policies to strengthen livelihood strategies of their members. Specific outcome envisaged by the Programme include the evolution of a vibrant, accountable and effective civil society movement capable of articulating and implementing their members’ vision of their own development; as well as active engagement of fisher folks civil society with regional and national policy making processes that have a bearing on the livelihoods of the fisher folks. The other specific outcome envisaged is the formation of a Lake Victoria Parliamentary forum in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and East African Lake Victoria Fisher folk CSOs Network. The proposed project will focus on capacity building of leading civil society organization in two areas namely
- To identify and address the internal institutional and governance skills they need to develop as organization for more effective and sustainable policy influence; and
- To understand the provisions within the key policy processes in East Africa, their relevance for fisher folks and how best to engage proactively in these processes