Angi Yoder-Maina is the Executive Director of a local Kenyan NGO called Green String Network (GSN) based in Nairobi, Kenya. GSN’s programs create opportunities for people currently in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia at the most local level to learn about the effects of trauma, begin to heal and come together as a community to plan community-wide activities and structures to support further healing, and reconciliation.
In practice this involves developing context specific materials which are designed to teach community participants about the effects of trauma and provide a safe environment for them to share about how violence impacts their own lives. The context in the countries GSN is working in is one in which a cycle of violence has become the norm. This cycle sees people reduced to seeing themselves as victims, and unable to break free, or forced to become aggressors to survive. It is in such a context grassroots social reconciliation processes have the most to offer in breaking the cycles of violence and victimhood.
Angi has her Bachelor of Arts in Peace Studies and Political Science from Manchester University, North Manchester, IN USA (1994). She has a Masters of Arts in Public and Social Policy with a concentration of Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from Duquesne University (1998). Angi is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at the Applied Conflict Transformation Studies Doctoral at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Her dissertation is: “Wellbeing and Resilience: A grounded study on trauma-informed approaches for conflict transformation.” The Wellbeing and Resilience approach is a trauma-informed practice-based approach, which GSN is applying currently in the Horn of Africa.
Wellbeing and Resilience: A grounded theory on a trauma-informed peacebuilding approach
In many parts of the world, entire generations and nations are living in chronic violence and exist in survival mode for decades. The exposure to violence has long-lasting effects which are not well accounted for in conflict analysis, stabilization efforts and peacebuilding initiatives. Extreme exposure to violence, abuse, neglect and marginalization negatively affect levels of resilience and the ability of affected nations to transition from war to peace or for others to maintain a just peace. Symptoms associated with trauma in individuals, influence all levels of society and aspects of governance and security, when large segments of a population are affected. Trauma-informed approaches to peacebuilding consider mental distress to be a critical variable in violent conflict and instability. Trauma is not only a consequence of violence, but also a cause of instability. ed with crimes committed.