Collaborative Leadership Training Project
What the project is about
This programme aims at contributing towards building sustainable peace and democracy in the country through enhancement of leadership skills among key leaders in Kenya.
The genesis for the development of this leadership programme came as a result of the 2007 post-election crisis. As the country began to emerge from the crisis and implement the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Agreements, concern prevailed on the fragility of the country. Of particular significance was the need for greater collaboration among leaders to deal with the underlying issues to move the country forward on a positive path of peace and development.
These leadership capacity building programmes will be designed to strengthen trust and communication; develop negotiation, communication and conflict transformation skills among key leaders in government, the civil society and the public sector. The programme will also help stimulate discussion and analysis at different levels of the society of ways to achieve more effective and holistic strategies for managing and resolving differences and building inclusive processes that advance governance in the country. What is proposed therefore is a programme that contributes to building sustainable peace and democracy in the country. There will be four elements to the programme:
- Transforming the zero-sum, winner-take-all mentality that is both the cause and product of the conflict. Political leaders in Kenya need to see collaboration with opponents as a key component of enlightened self interest. Kenya’s democracy and peace can be sustained when the leaders come to recognize that whatever their conflicting interests, there is still a lot they share in common, which should be preserved, protected and celebrated. When this inter-dependence is assured, they can develop the will and capacity to address the underlying social and political inequalities that constitute part of the structural causes of the conflict.
- Building relationship and trust among the key leaders. This is the only assurance that agreements can be honoured and is essential to developing mutual confidence and predictability in dealings with one another. In addition, it promotes a sense of inclusion among the various political, social and other groups/blocks in the country.
- Developing consensus among the leaders on the rules of the game: this will include issues of how power will be shared, organized and how decisions will be made. The process of developing consensus is no less important as the outcome and must be inclusive and locally owned.
- Developing effective communication and searching for common ground. Leaders of opposed groups need to learn (or relearn) how to hear each other’s concerns and how to express their own views in ways that encourage a search for common ground and for solutions, rather than inviting further confrontation and endless blame-throwing. In the aftermath of violence and conflict, leaders need to develop capacity to hear and respect the views of the other side and from there to jointly work towards mutually acceptable solutions.
What we have achieved so far
Within the context of the need for greater collaboration among leaders to deal with the underlying issues to move the country forward on a positive path of peace and development, an assessment mission was conducted to meet with the key stakeholders in the Grand Coalition Government, political parties, civil society, the faith community, media and the private business sector. This mission allowed us to hear their views, identify their interests and expectations as well as to determine their receptivity to participation in a collaborative leadership and conflict transformation programme.
The assessment mission identified general agreement from Kenyan stakeholders that the lack of trust and the dissolution of collaborative relations are at the heart of the conflict in governance circles. A “Winner takes all,” zero-sum mentality prevails in political rivalries. There is no agreement on the “rules of the game” - on how power should be shared and organized. The implementation of Agenda Item 4 that addresses the core problems in Kenya is critical to a stable and peaceful future but it is not being implemented in a timely way. Without an intervention that rebuilds trust and cohesion among key leaders, there is a limited likelihood that the reform agenda can be accomplished, or that the 2012 elections can be accomplished without violence.
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