THE ROLE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IN PEACEBUILDING IN MOUNT ELGON REGION, KENYA
MetadataShow full item record
There are efforts all over the world aimed at rebuilding societies torn apart by conflicts. Consequently, state and non-state actors play an active role in the peace building efforts. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are emerging as new approaches to these peace building efforts since they encourage participatory approach to peace building. This study was designed to assess the role of ICTs in peacebuilding in Mt. Elgon region, following the aftermath of the 2006-2008 intra-ethnic conflict between the Soy and Ndorobo clans of the Sabaot community. The main objective of the study was to investigate the role of ICTs in peacebuilding in Mt. Elgon region. The specific objectives of the study were to: Identify the actors involved in peacebuilding in Mt Elgon region, Determine the ICT tools used in the peacebuilding process in Mt Elgon region; Examine the application of ICTs in the peacebuilding process in Mt Elgon region; Assess the effectiveness of various ICT tools in the peacebuilding process in Mt Elgon region; Investigate the challenges of incorporating ICTs in the peacebuilding process in Mt Elgon. The study was guided by the conflict transformation theory which posits that conflicts can be transformed into peaceful co-existence characterised by new structures and new relationships which can be facilitated by ICTs. The researcher adopted the phenomenological research paradigm. The target population was 20,000 respondents with 377 community members randomly selected for quantitative interviews. For qualitative data, 40 respondents were purposively selected to participate in key informant interviews. In addition, four focus group discussions comprising 12 members were conducted in the two divisions of Cheptais and Mt Elgon Sub-Counties to build consensus on peacebuilding and ICTs in the region. These included 2 representatives from the District Peace Committees (DPC), 2 members each from the Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), men, women and youth. Secondary data was obtained from peer reviewed journal articles, books, government records, daily and weekly newspapers and Internet sources. Obtrusive observation in the study area was also used to obtain information. The mixed methods data analysis and interpretation approaches were used for merging quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and the findings subjected to Pearson correlation coefficient test to determine the relationship between ICTs and peacebuilding. The qualitative data was coded and thematically analysed using the NVivo 2.0 computer software. The findings show that the ICTs used in peacebuilding included radio, Television, social media platforms, mobile phones and Websites. The findings indicate that ICTs contributed to the restoration of relationships between the Sabaot clans, psychosocial healing and economic recovery in the region. They also facilitated inter-community dialogue which paved way to negotiated democracy in the region. The findings also show that ICTs were instrumental in empowering the residents to generate information and give views regarding the peace approaches in the region. It is recommended that ICT centres should be established in the region in order to enhance the effectiveness of ICTs in peacebuilding. The study also recommends that all historical land injustices in the region should be addressed in order to avoid future land conflicts. The outcome of the study may be used to stimulate the state and non-state actors to intensify the use of ICTs in peace building and conflict management. The findings may also benefit conflict managers, policy makers, security managers, academicians and all people in Mt Elgon region and beyond in the realisation of peace. The research findings may also help future researchers to identify priority areas and to carry out more research on ICTs and peace building.