Youths in Kisumu recently took a vow never to use stone throwing as a way of airing their grievances. The peace initiative dubbed ‘Sitarusha Mawe Tena’ peace campaign which translates to ‘I shall never throw stones again’ was held in the lakeside town of Kisumu about 334km north west of Nairobi in Kenya that has witnessed a lot of violence in the recent past. This campaign was meant to redeem the town from its horrific image of stone throwing and violent youths.

The youths held a 7km peaceful procession from carwash football ground to the main arena at the Jomo Kenyatta sports ground, in the middle of the town for the main event. They did activities such as face painting, signing of peace messages on their T-shirts, carrying of banners and placards with peace messages written on them along the way.

At a site donated by the town municipality, they cemented stones together to build a symbolic towering stone monument to act as a continuous reminder of their peace affirmation.

They also made stops at areas normally considered violent hotspots and used performances that showed their artistic skills as well as a way of mobilizing the public and showing their support to fighting this social vice.

One of the partners for the event, Brand Kenya Board, represented by Mrs. Mukami Ireri and Mrs. Nyawira, commended the youths especially because they had taken the initiative to make a difference in their own community. “We are glad to participate in this noble cause and I hope that other youths in other regions would emulate this initiative that portrays them as leaders.”

Boniface Ogutu, another of the event organisers and National Spokesperson for the organisation World without Wars and Violence, said he became inspired after attending a summit called ‘National Youth Summit’ which was sponsored by Brand Kenya. “It taught me to be a youth who will not just sit back and let an opportunity to make a difference go by, I take up the challenge and make the difference’.

The event held by Kisumu Artists through Kisumu Artists Network was so successful that the campaign team was invited to a state function so that they would share with the general public.

The campaign is now set to enter its second phase that involves visiting the residential estates. They shall use art with speech interludes to pass the message. Several suburbs have been lined up for visitations including estates such as Nyalenda, Manyatta, Mamboleo etc.

The launch was supported by other partners such as The Kenya Redcross, The Kenya Police, The Municipal council of Kisumu and the American Corner of the Kenya National Library services-Kisumu Branch.