The Olmaa Pastoralist Development Programme (OLPADEP), formed in 2000 and registered as an NGO a year later, works to prevent and mitigate conflicts in five pastoralist counties declared hotspots by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission: Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Baringo, and Samburu. These areas suffer from a lack of coordinated interventions, and there is a pressing need to challenge and transform the narratives of 'ethnic' violence which are rife. An alternative vision of inclusive, competent and accountable leadership - looking for the common ground among people, instead of finding ways to divide them - is key to ending conflict in the region.
From one issue to many: OLPADEP past and present
OLPADEP was initially formed to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Masaai community. It has since expanded to focus on issues of land rights and natural resource management, alternative livelihood development and food security, community empowerment and advocacy, education and cultural resource development, and fostering generally peaceful relations throughout society. Its overarching goal is to build an informed, dynamic, and cohesive society.
OLPADEP's work today principally address the potential for animosity within the five counties. The main cause of the conflict is chiefly the issue of devolution. This has led to competing claims among the communities for control of natural resources. OLPADEP works to bring groups together to manage their problems collectively.
Through the Pastoralist Peace and Accountability Enhanced Project (PPEAP), OLPADEP has helped foster peace initiatives including:
- Building the capacity to facilitate resource management PPEAP trains participants in how to negotiate communally-accepted solutions to disputes, who in turn train other local leaders.
Challenging ethno‐nationalist narratives by emphasising common goals The sustained Radio Outreach Broadcast facilitates the establishment of competent, accountable and suitable leadership at national and country government level. Using local radio stations, local discussion groups are held with community focus groups.
Strengthening coordination and networking among pastoralists PPEAP advances regular and steady forums to enhance the networking and coordination skills of pastoralist civil society groups, with the aim of improving their leadership and reform efforts.