The Influence of Kenya’s Religious Colonial Past (RELS 348)

Melanie Lidman’s “In Kenya, Catholic Nuns Train Women to be Local Peacemakers in the Midst of Tensions“ was originally published on Global Sisters Report and can also be found on The Huffington Post (26 March, 2015). Lidman’s article explains that in Kenya, “tribal tensions simmer just below the surface of every conflict.” The Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya’s Justice and Peace Commission have been supporting a decrease in tension between tribes with the help of local women. Since 1999, Catholic sisters have trained 340 women from across the country to act as local peacemakers and mediators. The trainees returned to their communities across all 25 dioceses of Kenya and shared the knowledge and tools necessary for defusing local conflict in “peacemaking circles”. Many people within the communities can be displaced, illiterate, without work, and affected or caring for a loved one with HIV. The circles offer a supportive community in which women have the chance to learn about resolution, empowerment and health. Lindman expresses that women’s education to problem-solve and mediate is important to the entire society because they have the power to instigate change.

This article demonstrates the impact of a colonial past. The first Europeans to establish themselves within Kenya were from the Christian Missionary Society in 1848. Soon thereafter, Kenya was deemed a British colony. European settlers greatly influenced Kenyan politics, culture, economy and religion. Christianity expanded quickly in the 19th century during the time the British colonized the country. Today, more than two thirds of the population is Christian, primarily attending Protestant or Roman Catholic churches. (Britannica.com) Christian mission stations offer medical and educational facilities as well as religious, such as the Sisterhoods of Kenya’s Justice and Peace Commission mentioned in Lidman’s article. The commission is working towards educating and empowering women positively within society, not just religiously. A lot of political and economic problems, conflict and displacement can be attributed to Kenya’s colonial past, but it can also be argued that some of the western influence has had the power to do good.

#uwreligions

Hongo Ominde, Simon. “Kenya.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica, 3 December 2015. Web.     31 March 2015, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/315078/Kenya

Lindman, Melanie. “In Kenya, Catholic Nuns Train Women to be Local Peacemakers in the Midst       of Tensions.” The Huffignton Post 26 March 2015. Web. 31 March 2015,  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/26/kenya-nuns       peacemakers_n_6941906.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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