Over the past 3 years of violent experience of rapid youth radicalization and extremist activities around the country including eastleigh, one of the renowned major business center within Nairobi County with an approximately 5,000 business people actively engaged in businesses, Eastleighwood has been on the forefront to curb this situations. With relentless efforts, Eastleighwood Youth Forum,-anon-Governmental organization working with youths in the area has actively fought for peace despite the many challenges facing the community.
Eastleighwood Youth Forum has been having programs meant to give the youth a refuge, many of whom have no further education opportunities, no formal skill transfer or even employment opportunities. Our key thematic areas are Youth talent development programs (Quarterly Vocational/Crash programs), media production (Film& video production, photojournalism), arts, sports and culture. Through these programs, the organization has benefited more than 1000 youths, some of them with informal education but with unique strengths and talents.
Some of the programs we run include the following:
- Computer Training, Photojournalism and other short courses. There many youths who benefited from these programs and have so far gained employment in different sectors such Forex bureau companies while some have started their own studio businesses filming weddings and other events for money.
- We have been organizing Talent Shows ( Bandhigakartida) in which many youths nurtured their god given talents including poetry, comedies, traditional dances like Dhaanto, creative arts ( Farshaxan) and many have used their talents for positive activities like peace building, cohesion and inclusivity in this metropolitan city of Nairobi. Many youths who have joined gangs and terrorized the neighbourhoood or have been used for the wrong purposes are now leading a positive life and benefiting the community.
- Every Thursday we organized talk shows on Radio star Fm in which a leading sheikh in the community counsels the youth and they call in to share their views and learn tremendously.
- Every Friday we organize an internal Youth Dialogue debate at our offices in which the youth share ideas, their hopes and challenges and they learn from each other. Here we teach peer education and we stress on the need for the youth to be important members of the society and we emphasize education and youth leadership.
- We publish a monthly newsletter which is free and available in print and online. Here we publish informative and educative matters , it is the voice of the community.
- We do short role model films in which we sample successful members of the community. It involves televised interviews and it involves practical tips of how they turned their lives around and they give direct advice to the youth telling them that they too can make it in life.
Although the community leadership the business, the religious and political aspects of it have supported us with moral support, there are certain quarters within Eastleigh who are dark and sinister forces who have taken to threatened us severally to stop our good work. I myself have survived so far one assassination attempt on my life and this is a great challenge we have faced. This has brought fear and tension among the staff and therefore today we call upon the Government and other development partners to come in and provide the necessary support to make sure that the ongoing peace initiatives we are done go on without any challenges. All the stakeholders are also requested to come on board and stop these threats that are pulling the community back. Today will be a historic day in which we choose peace or to bow down to the dark forces who mean ill and have no good in themselves apart violence.
To those dark and sinister forces we send them a message and tell them Allah never approves of your ways. We tell them as it is in the Quran that killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity and saving one person is like saving the whole of humanity. For us we choose to save life while you have chosen to exterminate humanity. MayAllah show you show you the light and may he bring you back to the ways of our prophet s.a.w who was sent as a mercy to the whole of mankind.
Despite these challenges, we are still motivated to spearhead our programs for the best interest of the vulnerable and marginalized groups within the community.
Peace promotion has always been the organization’s key chore dream that has transformed the lives of at least 200 youths reached every month with peace messages during interactive peace forums from February 2014 up to date. The organization anticipates achieving more if supported with enough security and collaborative efforts to intensify its activities not only in Eastleigh but also other diversely affected regions like North Eastern and Coast Province.