We work together with local partners in Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi to build a positive, nonviolent grassroots peace movement. Our Turning the Tide programme helps local activists to stand up for social justice and peace.

Quakers in Britain partners with Alternatives to Violence Kenya Trust, Rwanda Yearly Meeting and Ministry for Peace and Reconciliation under the Cross (MIPAREC).

Together we deliver locally driven projects organised by community-based volunteers and trainers. The approach is adapted from the Quaker nonviolent training programme, Turning the Tide.

About Turning the Tide East Africa

    How does it work?

    Turning the Tide (TTT) is an approach that links peacebuilding with nonviolent campaigning. It seeks to equip and support people to address root causes of violence with nonviolent tools. TTT has four main programme pillars:

    1. Very experienced East African TTT facilitators train existing local groups (for example small local NGOs, women groups, work associations) on nonviolent campaigning.
    2. After these trainings, TTT facilitators help the trained groups to analyse the root causes and injustices in their areas.
    3. Trained groups then chose an issue they would like to work on. TTT facilitators support and accompany the groups in carrying out nonviolent campaigns to bring sustainable change.
    4. Because TTT facilitators are extremely well connected with various grassroots groups and local authorities, they are often asked to mediate conflicts and facilitate difficult community meetings.

    Our partners recognise that while trauma recovery, mediation, and conflict resolution are crucial, the success of these initiatives will be limited while legitimate grievances about governance, corruption and basic rights remain unaddressed.

    What does TTT East Africa work on?

    TTT East Africa does not decide what campaigns trained groups work on. Facilitators help groups identify and analyse injustice and ensure that while addressing root causes, campaign groups use nonviolent measures.

    Because of this approach, the projects that TTT East Africa has supported over the years are diverse. There have been campaigns against land-grabs, domestic violence, and corruption, and campaigns that support disability rights, environmental rights, and women's rights. Examples include:

    • In Kenya, organisers supported a community in stopping the construction of a dam that would have displaced around 50,000 people.
    • In Rwanda, organisers trained more than 280 young people on nonviolence. After the trainings, the young people formed peace clubs that launched campaigns against violence in schools.
    • In Burundi, a TTT-trained group improved the living conditions of several hundred people when it held a campaigned for electricity supplies to connect an entire village, two hospitals and a school.

    A short film about the first Turning the Tide East Africa gathering, which brought together more than 30 peace activists from Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Nigeria. The film was produced by Rwandan film-maker Yves Shema with the support of the TTT team in Rwanda.

    Why do Quakers in Britain support peace work in East Africa?

    Quakers in Britain have close historic links to Quakers in East Africa. In 2007, Kenyan Quakers reached out to Quakers in Britain, asking for support to overcome the challenges of the 2007 post-election violence.

    TTT Britain staff travelled to Kenya and together with Kenyan Quakers adapted their approach to the Kenyan and East Africa context. Since the first trainings in 2010, our East African colleagues have further developed and nourished the nonviolent approaches of TTT.

    Turning the Tide's work is based on a broad and deep understanding of violence that embraces physical, cultural and structural violence. As such, it resonates with 'taking away the occasion for war' and also the Quaker Advice to 'search out whatever in your way of life may contain the seeds of war.'

    By supporting people to analyse violence in their own communities and develop strategies to reduce it, the growing movement of TTT practitioners in East Africa are actively promoting the achievement of a more peaceful society.

    Our guiding principles

    • Our work is built on authentic partnership which springs from the Quaker understanding of equality.
    • We use responsive training and ongoing accompaniment to ensure the training takes root.
    • We nurture community ownership and ensure that every campaign is locally driven.
    • Much direct violence is derived from underlying and often invisible social injustice. In order to build peace we must be willing to make visible and challenge structural and cultural violence.
    • There is something good in every person, even those who are perpetuating social injustices. Effective nonviolent action seeks that good and calls it out.
    • Nonviolence requires risk, self-discipline and a deep commitment. It must come from deep within. It will never work when it is imposed from without.

    Learn more

    Read Kenyan TTT activist Betty Atieno's reflections on 6 years working towards peace in Nairobi.

    Listen to interviews with African peace activists, undertaken for This Light That Pushes Me, an photography exhibition and book created by Quaker Peace & Social Witness.

    Read a blog post looking at 3 things that East African community peace campaigners can teach us

    Further blog posts about our peacebuilding work in East Africa

    Sign up for email updates about the work through the monthly Quaker Faith in Action email newsletter.

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    5 August 2019 by Faith Biddle

    Contact us

    Tobias Wellner

    East Africa Programme Manager

    020 7663 1075

    tobiasw@quaker.org.uk

    @AfricaQPSW