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Sauti Moja, which means ‘One Voice’ in Swahili, runs community livestock banks where impoverished women are given a donkey and four goats. They later repay the ‘loan’ by giving away their animals’ first female offspring to another woman in the community.
In Leyai, however, the livestock loans have become a catalyst for peace. Instead of giving an animal to a widow from their own tribe, the participants pass the animals on to women from the other tribe.
Those who considered the other tribe responsible for their widowhood and destitution share their most valued and precious resources with someone from the rival clan.
Gumatho, a Rendille woman who lost her son in an ambush, describes how she felt when she first came face-to-face with those she thought of as enemies. ‘The first time I met with them, everything came back to me,’ she recalls, ‘and I couldn’t tolerate it for a long time.’
However, encouraged by others in the group — and determined to overcome these difficulties — Gumatho became convinced that peace was far better than conflict.
With the same resolution and fortitude that is evident in all these women, Gumatho committed herself to leaving the past behind and working towards a better future.
The women truly embraced the project and began to develop and enhance it with their own initiatives by visiting each other in their homes, and welcoming one another to weddings, funerals and other significant events.
Women have been empowered to preach peace and share testimonies, and male tribal elders have responded positively.
Building on the success of the livestock loans, the widows asked Sauti Moja to start peace clubs in primary schools to ensure future generations grow up challenging the conflict in their traditional culture and championing peace.
‘Instead of conflict, let us unite and advocate against the war,’ the women sing together. May their voices echo through many generations to come!
Inter-tribal conflict remains a daily reality for many in northern Kenya, but the women of Leyai have shown that peace is possible. Each woman who participated in the peace project chose to set aside her history and actively work for peace, showing that the true work of change is an internal process that begins within.
THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND SOME TIME PRAYING FOR PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD, AS WELL AS THOSE YOU KNOW. BELOW IS A GUIDE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED.
Lord, I pray for remote villages that are yet to experience Your peace, specifically for:
— People who have lost loved ones in disputes or war
— Tribes or people groups that are on the brink of conflict
— Those who are striving to bring peace to communities
Pray for BORANA and RENDILLE WIDOWS
Thank you, God, for the women in the Borana and Rendille tribes who decided to lay down past prejudices for the sake of peace. We pray that peace continues to permeate throughout the village of Leyai and that the widows will continue to inspire and bring change, throughout the generations.
Pray for SAUTI MOJA
Thank you, Lord, for everything that Sauti Moja, MAF and other peace and reconciliation groups are doing to bring people together and to share Your love. We pray for more inspired initiatives that will bring people together in creative ways.
Anyone you know personally who feels they don’t belong, is living without community or is struggling — whether outwardly or inwardly — with conflict. Ask God to bring peace, forgiveness and reconciliation into the person’s life.
You may wish to write down your prayer so you can remember it.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is the world’s largest humanitarian air operator. For over 75 years we have been flying light aircraft over jungles, mountains, swamps and deserts. We enable more than 2,000 aid, development and mission organisations to bring medical care, emergency relief and long-term development. Our pilots and personnel deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines - everything that can only be safely and speedily delivered by air. Our faithful supporters give and pray to make this all possible.