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Exploring the intersections of gender, religion, and, culture when engaging the Pokot-Turkana conflict in Kenya between 1963 and 2015.

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The Sahel region and East Africa has shown sustained levels of inter-pastoral violent conflicts with associated potential impacts on their livelihoods. One such conflict is the Turkana-Pokot cross-border conflict that has become the norm. Despite disarmament operations initiated by the government of Kenya, peace-building meetings, and workshops led by the Catholic dioceses of Kitale and Lodwar, insecurity in the region continues to prevail. This study explored the intersections of gender, religion, and culture when engaging the Pokot-Turkana conflict in Kenya between 1963 and 2015 and had three objectives: to trace the nature of the conflict along the Pokot-Turkana in general; to interrogate how the Catholic Church has been involved in the conflict management process and how it could enhance its engagement with those affected by the Pokot-Turkana conflict when appropriating an intersectional gender-sensitive paradigm for conflict resolution; and to examine how an intersectional gender-critical analysis of the conflict could contribute to a better understanding of the Pokot-Turkana conflict and possible interventions. The researcher applied a combination of theoretical frameworks in addressing the research questions. They included: Protracted Social Conflict (PSC) theory by Edward Azar (1990) in analyzing the nature and persistence of the Pokot-Turkana conflict, Pankhurst and Pearce's steps in engendering a disciplined framework to address the gender aspect missing in conflict management theory by Azar's PSC, and Kanyoro's feminists' cultural hermeneutics theoretical framework to address the intersection of gender, culture, and religion. Data was collected through random/probability and non-random/non-probability sampling techniques. Under random/probability sampling, cluster and stratified sampling were used, while under non-random/non-probability, purposive sampling was used. Research instruments used in data collection were questionnaires, interview guides, and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Data analysis was done manually and presented in tables. The questionnaires, interview guides, and FGDs were qualitatively analyzed. The findings included the Roman Catholic church's role in managing the conflict, the cultural gender roles sustaining the conflict, and the role of culture as a pawn and a resource in conflict management. The research established that the government interventions failed in mitigation efforts due to poor conflict resolution strategies caused by factors not in tandem with the local perceptions, beliefs, expectations, and needs of the affected communities. This study recommends that the Catholic Church and the council of elders develop a common conflict management framework. Peace in the grassroots model by the late bishop Korir was reviewed, enhanced, and recommended.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.