Peace campaigners from Garissa have been honored for their contribution in tackling terrorism and radicalisation in the region.
Women, religious and youth leaders, chiefs and traditional dancers, from across the county are among those who were feted.
The initiative, funded by the EU and USAID, is aimed at celebrating individuals who have contributed to peace and security.
Search for Common Ground programme officer Mohamed Haji said terrorism has hurt every sector and the war against it cannot be won by security personnel alone. Search for Common Ground is an NGO based in Lamu.
Haji said the only way to boost the morale of individuals who have contributed to peace and security in the region was by ‘recognising their effort’.
“We have decided as civil societies to work closely with members of the public and government agencies in the fight against terror. We will support all initiatives aimed at getting rid of these criminals,” Haji said. He spoke during the ceremony held at a Garissa hotel.
Garissa deputy county commissioner Benard ole Kipury said violent extremism has remained a threat to the lives of residents.
He urged organisations operating in Garissa to incorporate peacebuilding into their programmes.
“In order to counter violent extremism, we all need to come together. We have to bring the youth, parents, the government, clerics, women, NGOs and all other actors to ensure that we counter violent extremism,” Kipury said.
Katra Hassan Shurie, the chair of Sharif Dancers, said peace was paramount.
“Sometimes we take peace for granted until things get out of hand. We have seen what insecurity can do to society and the country at large,” she said.
“We should never wish to go that route. Let us all jealously safeguard it and name and shame all those hell-bent on wreaking havoc.”
Hundreds of innocent lives have been lost in Northeastern, with terror groups targeting security officers, civil servants and wananchi.
There is, however, a much bigger problem that state and non-state actors are now dealing with, that of local youth being targeted by terror cells.