PeaceWomen of the Month
Peace Woman of the Month - Tecla Namachanja Wanjala
“In war everybody is a victim. For one to reconcile communities, one needs to rise from being a wounded victim to a wounded healer. I am a wounded healer”. Tecla Wanjala
Tecla Wanjala is one of the original 1000 PeaceWomen nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. The Kenyan peace advocate and social healing consultant has been working for peace for more than 25 years.
In her work she combines many years of academic and practical work in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. She is a renowned consultant on transitional justice, conflict transformation, social healing and reconciliation. Tecla Wanjala has a degree in social work and started her work in a refugee camp in Bungoma, Kenya, where she taught children. While working as a teacher, she initiated agricultural projects to alleviate hunger and deprivation in the refugee camp. She achieved that almost all refugees could be reintegrated into their original or new communities. From 1991-1992 and 1997, she also was the coordinator of emergency relief and reconstruction for victims of ethnic land conflicts. Tecla Wanjala worked with the peace and development network of the NGO Council (PeaceNet). In this position she coordinated the activities of the members, was active in fundraising and conducted trainings on conflict transformation. In addition, Tecla Wanjala is founder and program officer of the Green String Network, which supports social healing and reconciliation of Kenyan communities. Working with victims of ethnic conflict, refugees and internally displaced persons, Tecla Wanjala is one of three women recognised as the pillars of peace in Kenya.
In 2008, Tecla Wanjala became Deputy Chair and then President of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Kenya. The mandate of the Commission included dealing with historical injustices in the country. Tecla Wanjala was particularly committed to ensuring that the Commission integrated a gender focus in its work. I.a. the Commission has set up a special unit on gender, the interview guidelines focused in particular on women's experiences and the interviewers had been specially trained for this. In addition, the Commission worked closely with women's organisations to increase women's access to transitional justice mechanisms. Today, Tecla Wanjala is certain that, from a women's perspective, the Commission has done its best.
Currently Tecla Wanjala is a Richard von Weizsäcker Research Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Germany. During her stay, Tecla Wanjala focuses on how Germany deals with traumatised refugees and migrants. Her goals are to find out how traumas are understood and processed in different cultures in order to develop a model of social healing that is culturally appropriate for Africa.
With her wealth of experience and her tireless commitment to a peaceful coexistence, Tecla Wanjala is an irreplaceable PeaceWoman in Kenya. PeaceWomen Across the Globe is proud to work with a woman who is working on a daily basis to make the world a more peaceful place.
(Photo: Credit: PeaceWomen Across the Globe)