International Peace Initiatives (IPI) was established by Dr Karambu Ringera in 2002 in order to mitigate the effects of poverty, HIV/AIDS and discrimination in the local area. Her vision was to set up a grass-roots community-building project, with a particular focus on improving the lives of vulnerable children.
One key initiative is IPI’s Kithoka Amani Community Home (KACH), which cares for 30 local vulnerable children whose families are too debilitated by the consequences of HIV, poverty or addiction to look after them. The children’s living, social, health, emotional and educational needs are met through a holistic, community-based approach, which allows the children to remain part of the community where they grew up, continue to attend their local schools and maintain close ties with extended family and friends. The children’s confidence and self-esteem has grown visibly as a result of having new uniforms to wear to school, and the provision of a midday meal is of great importance as poor nutrition is proven to have a profound effect on children’s health and development.
Convinced that peace is not simply the absence of war, but also fair access to basic needs such as health, food, education, clean water, shelter, and the ability to earn a sustainable, dignified living, IPI also runs projects to improve the health and livelihood opportunities of young mothers and women afflicted by extreme poverty and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. These vulnerable women are supported through skills training programmes, which are designed to help them get back on their feet and become better able to provide for their children or future children. In the meantime, IPI provides care, shelter, nourishment and access to education for the children they are presently unable to care for as well as they would like.
Ecologia is also supporting IPI to provide eco-technology and organic agriculture trainings at its community centre so that local families can learn how to grow diverse crops, without using damaging chemical fertilizers, on small pieces of land in order to provide themselves and their children with a nutritious diet. Training in waste recycling and eco-technologies such as biogas cookers are also provided and proving to be invaluable to local households.