Seeds of Peace Africa (SOPA) International is a non-profit peace organization working for peace and non-violence; sustainable development and a friendly world founded by Ambrose Otieno Ong’wen. Seeds of Peace Africa started operating as a Community Based Organization in Korogocho slums, Nairobi in 2002 and later registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 2006.
Since its inception, SOPA International has made significant strides in diverse areas of human life. Starting from humble beginnings of rehabilitating and re-integrating street children, SOPA International has extensively grown to undertake peace-building and development activities within and across borders of Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan in partnership with funding partners, national and local community based organizations.
Between 2002 and 2004, SOPA contributed to rehabilitation of over 250 street children to influence attitude and behaviour change from hostility encountered at home and schools. SOPA also initiated three peace and development youth groups in the Upper Nile and Gambella regions, as well as in the slums of Nairobi in 2006. Those groups helped to mobilise communities in peace building and development initiatives. The groups encouraged their communities to disarm voluntarily as a part of their lobbying and advocacy initiatives for the government’s support of development agenda of those communities. Sport, theatre and musical activities were used a great deal in the works of the groups.
SOPA International established vibrant local structures and built local capacities for peace in Pokot, Turkana, Jie, Dodoth and other regions. Proactive conflict resolution and peace-building mitigation measures such as early warning mechanisms have successfully enabled tracking of the raided animals, as well as timely alarms of pre-empted planned raids and revenge missions. The measures implemented by SOPA’s programs helped to resolve localised conflicts which tend to arise out of child abduction, theft and rape, and could easily slip into serious communal issues triggering aggression and violence. Peace-building projects minimised inter-pastoral violence and cattle raiding in the affected areas after SOPA’s successful intervention.
SOPA organized and conducted cross border peace meetings and dialogue between hostile communities - namely, Turkana (Kenya), Dodoth, Jie (Uganda), Toposa, Murle, Jie, Lotuko, Buya, Diding’a and Logir which incorporate many other Lango speakers (Southern Sudan) who seldom met.
SOPA enabled various groups to “return home” during and after the post-election violence in the various violence prone areas of Naivasha, Burnt Forest and Borabu and integrated them with new neighbours. Capacity of Peace & Sports Facilitators built in the following areas: - basic reporting, basic leadership skills, - basic skills how to conduct workshops on conflict transformation, peace-building and sports as an instrument, - basic skills how to conduct sports trainings, organise tournaments and matches for youth warriors prone to violence through value based sports.
Over the years, SOPA worked closely with different partners namely IKV Pax Christi-Netherlands, Dutch Embassy, Intervida- Spain, Right to Play Canada, International Sports Alliance, Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Kenya, Siaya County Council, KNVB, Women Win, Kuron Peace Village, Catholic Diocese of Lodwar among others. SOPA continues to partner with various stakeholders in the realization of its vision.