News Feature: ‘Kenya, My Home’ Spreads Message of Peace
AHEAD of general elections in Kenya this August, The Salvation Army has been putting in place peacemaking plans to help avoid a repeat of the violence and bloodshed that followed the 2007 elections. One of the main elements in this plan is the release of a specially written song, ‘Kenya, My Home’ as part of a wide-ranging joint venture organised by The Salvation Army’s two Kenya territories (Kenya East and Kenya West) in partnership with International Development Services and International Emergency Services (both based at International Headquarters in London). Technical and creative services have been provided by a partner organisation, Community Albums (www.communityalbums.com).
The song for peace has been written by children across the country. Set to a Kenyan beat and beginning with rhythmic sounds made by everyday items, ‘Kenya, My Home’ uses different tribal languages and has contributions from Christians, Muslims, children who are blind, others who live on the streets, some at school and some living without families, to show through words and music that ‘everyone is somebody’ and ‘Kenya is my home ... I choose peace’. As part of the show of unity, the chorus was written by pupils from The Salvation Army's school for the visually impaired in Thika, which is attended by children from all over the country.
People across Kenya and beyond are being encouraged to share the song and its accompanying video, which shows a powerful message of peace and unity, on social media using the hashtag #KenyaMyHome, spreading the message that choosing peace is in everyone's best interest. It is also being provided in broadcast quality to radio and TV stations to ensure as wide an audience as possible.
Lieut-Colonel Morris Vincent (Chief Secretary, Kenya West Territory) says: ‘Everything is so well done and the children express confidently and with great passion their desire for this time in our history to be peaceful. I express appreciation to all who partnered to make this happen. We value more than words can fully express the ongoing support from the international Salvation Army for our territory (in this case for both Kenya territories).’
Launch events were arranged in the Kenya East and Kenya West Territories. In Kenya East the video was premiéred at a ‘pizza and praise party’ for 80 people at Kabete Children's Home. The children loved it so much that they insisted on watching it three times! Kenya West launched the song at territorial headquarters, at Kakamega Citadel (church) and in a showing to children from the Martha’s Closet street kids project in Kakamega. It will be shown at various Red Cross coordination meetings across Kenya, where viewers will include representatives from the government and non-governmental organisations.
Other peacemaking activities include school competitions, sports activities, peace messages on car stickers and banners, sermons, Bible studies and marches.
The video for ‘Kenya, My Home’ and a documentary can be downloaded from sar.my/kenyamyhome. The page also hosts other resources, including an article about the peacemaking initiative from the July–September issue of All the World, The Salvation Army’s international magazine.
Report by IHQ Communications