ACTS PhD Fellow (2017-2020)
I live and work in Nairobi, Kenya. I am originally from the United States but have recently become a Kenyan citizen.
I am the CEO of a new local NGO called Green String Network (GSN) based in Nairobi, Kenya. GSN brings together professionals and experts in the field of conflict transformation, governance, trauma-informed healing practices and development of sustainable economic programs. The network encompasses likeminded actors who work on peace transformation, social healing and economic stability. We are keen on collaborations where local partners own and drive initiatives and benefit from our technical expertise.
Our programs are creating 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, reconciliation and ultimately a comprehensive national approach to social healing.
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 we are 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.
My topic for my dissertation is: “Trauma Informed Conflict Transformation Theory: A Grounded Study on Social Healing, Resilience and Recovery.” Entire generations and nations are living in protracted violence and exist in the survival mode for decades causing society’s social and economic fabric to disintegrate. Cracks in society are reflected in daily life, and not only affect individuals, but also the systems and structures that are meant to support recovery. A trauma-informed conflict transformation theory that comes from practice is necessary for addressing the ways trauma influences the different aspects of life and society – both at the individual and collective levels. Such an approach strengthens both individual and community resilience and supports the recovery process.