Becoming a Maskani Digital Peacebuilder
Before I share my story, I wanted to introduce you to the Maskani Commons. In March of 2020, with the support of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law’s Knowledge Management Fund (KMF), the Center for Media, Democracy, Peace and Security – Rongo University (CMDPS-RU) and Build Up, the Maskani Digital Peace Process was born. Dr. Fredrick Ogenga, the director of CMDPS, was able to draw in the participation of students and faculty advisors from six public universities in Western Kenya to establish the Maskani Team. Maskani is a Swahili word for dwelling that is open and welcoming for dialogue, a fitting symbol for the team.
By May 2020, the Maskani Commons had grown to 60 students across the six universities and was ready to take off. Build Up drew from its digital peacebuilding work in the USA (The Commons) and collaborated with Dr. Ogenga and other faculty members to develop an intensive 4-week digital peacebuilding training schedule for the students. This was followed by 2 months of online peacebuilding practicums allowing each students to put their training to work.
It is because of the creation of the Maskani Commons and the support of all the students and faculty that helped to create it, that I can share my own personal reflection on what it means to me to be a digital peacebuilder in Kenya.