The Levels of Participation for Men and Women in Resolving Community Conflicts Using ADR Mechanisms in Kapsokwony SubCounty, Bungoma County, Kenya
Muthama, Benson Mutuku
Ngare, Grace Wamue
Wanjama, Leah Njambi
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Purpose: This article outlines the levels of participation of men and women in resolvingcommunity conflicts using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in Kapsokwony,Kenya. It highlights that ADR are currently considered participatory and inclusive processes toresolve community conflicts as they offer men and women a major stake in conflict resolution insociety due to their roles and positions in society.Methodology: Findings across the globe confirm that when men and women equally participate inresolution of community conflicts there is increased likelihood of reaching an agreement and ofthe longevity of the agreement. This implies that for effective ADR, the participation of both menand women would be crucial. The study was based on a mixed research method whosemethodology involved research survey, interview and Focus Group Discussions. In consideration of the fact that gender equality is strongly advocated for in conflict resolution, the study sought to establish the situation in Kapsokwony. The study therefore sought to assess the levels of men’s and women’s participation in ADR mechanisms in Kapsokwony. Results: The study established that power was a factor that influenced the level of participation. Consequently, the level was simply established to be that of neutral/passive to a very high participation level of women participation in ADR mechanism. However, those that were participating at high levels in ADR were few and their power was invested in the office they held. Furthermore, the study established that in the Nyumba Kumi structure, women level of participation in conflict resolution was increasing from neutral/neutral to a higher level of participation where they fully participated in leading and influencing decisions on resolution of conflicts. This can be explained because the nature of the Nyumba Kumi structure allows for everyone to be actively involved in ensuring safety and welfare of the ten households’ members. Urban Thinkers Campus (2015) confirms that women are involved in ensuring safety in urban and rural settlements mainly through the Nyumba Kumi Initiative in which they are part of the leadership committee. Unique contribution to theory, policy, and practice: Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms help in creating an environment that fosters development, peace, and social justice amongst other positive values amidst community conflicts. The United Nations (2007) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People advocates for equal participation of men and women in the management of community conflicts. Participation of both men and women in ADR processes to resolve community conflicts in Kapsokwony Sub-county region is a field that studies have not adequately explored. This study hopes to contribute to existing literature on men’s and women’s participationin ADR for land disputes. The outcome of this study may be utilized to influence increasedparticipation of women in ADR, within Kapsokwony Sub-county region. Additionally, the study's findings will add to the growing body of literature pertaining to the participation of both men and women in peace building within the Kenyan context. Lastly, the findings of this study form thefoundation upon which future research can be done.