What was the project you funded?
The Prix Pralong awarded me CHF 10,000 to fund a project I partnered in called “AMANI: How empowering women can prevent conflict, foster stability and benefit the environment in Baringo County, Kenya”.
AMANI works to bring together women groups from different ethnic communities to build community farms and gardens. In this vein, women also learn how to produce honey, grow vegetables and care for goats.
Baringo County is one of the poorest counties in Kenya, where a constant lack of water and recurring violence among different ethnic groups poses numerous challenges.
Most of the ethnic groups there, such as the Ilchamus and Pokot (which are targeted by this project), are pastoralist, and enter into conflict with one another over cattle and resources. Women are particularly affected by the violence, as they are tasked with tending to the house and the children, and often see their homesteads and sources of livelihood destroyed in raids.
After travelling to the drought-affected areas of Baringo, I decided to partner with two local NGOs: Mundo Posible and the Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA). These two partners provided precious expertise and support on the ground that proved crucial to the success of the project.
What are the project’s main objectives?
The project has several main objectives. First, it aims to equip women with the skills and knowledge necessary to establish a business, earn an income and support their families to create a community founded on the values of mutual support, collaboration and socio-economic solidarity.
A second goal is to enhance different ethnic groups' understanding of and reliance on each other (with the long-term objective of fostering peace). Finally, the project works to promote and support varied, sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of agriculture and livestock keeping in rural areas of Baringo in order to prevent and reduce the incidence of conflict and to safeguard the environment.
What could you tell your fellow students about the importance of funding opportunities like this one?
I just want to emphasise how much this funding means to me, and, most importantly, to the beneficiaries of my project. I feel like students at the Graduate Institute might have brilliant ideas that can have a meaningful impact in the lives of many, but often lack access to information about opportunities like this one.
I also feel that the preparation I received through my education at the Institute was fundamental: my background in studying both security and development allowed me to get a better grasp of the security-development nexus and equipped me with knowledge and skills that I was able to apply to the real world through this project.
Keywords: master in international affairs, interdisciplinary masters