The Sport the Tool for Peacebuilding: Case Study of the Tecla Lorupe Peace Race in the Kerio Valley
Updated: Jun 23
Lorna Jepkoech Kimaiyio
Intercommunity conflicts that have been sparked of by cattle rustling have characterized the better part of the history and lives of the Kalenjin people in the Kerio Valley. These communities are the pokot, Marakwet, Keiyo, Tugen, Turkana and Samburu. The causes of these intercommunity conflicts are multifaceted. They include, social-cultural factors, economic and political marginalization in the area. The outcome of these conflicts historically has often led to loss of lives, destruction of property and underdevelopment in the region. In an effort to intervene and build peace among these communities in the Kerio Valley. Tecla Lorupe, a renowned Kenyan female athlete, from West Pokot, established the Tecla Lorupe Peace Foundation (T.L.P.F). The T.L.P.F uses sports, races in particular, to promote peace among the belligerent or warring communities. The aim of the T.L.P.F is to transform the warriors from being the engine of conflict in the Kerio Valley to professional athletes. By ending the popular culture of cattle rustling among these communities, the foundation hopes to spur development in the region. It has to be noted that through sports reformed warriors have been offered an avenue to learn skills such as tolerance, creative thinking, interdependence, intercultural communication, discipline, to be responsible citizens, time management, perseverance, cooperation, self control, self-awareness, problem solving and respect for others. As such, the walls of animosity among the belligerents are being brought down as the bridges of peace are being built. Through sports, the reformed warriors have been offered an opportunity to make an honest living. For example, those who have been lucky to represent the country during sporting events and have won medals, they have earned income that has helped them to improve their lives and that of the society at large, besides the government getting more revenues. The implication of this is that the level of raiding and counter raiding in Kerio Valley is going down. And what that means, more lives have are being spared as people are able to live with limited fear, therefore, able to engage in productive activities to improve their well-being. This is in line with Africa Union vision of silencing the gun as articulated in the Agenda 2063.