PBI Kenya partnered with Saferworld – Kenya, and with two Kenyan community-based organisations, Ghetto Foundation and Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC) to implement a project funded by the European Union to address extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the urban settlements of Nairobi. In April 2018, the two-year project titled Ushirikiano Mwema kwa Usalama (UMKU) – which stands for “Good relationships for safety” - was launched. The project aimed to challenge the normalisation of EJKs and increase respect of national and international human rights standards by law enforcement through strengthening the capacities of police officers and grassroots human rights defenders (GHRDs) to prevent EJKs and other human rights violations, and contribute to their investigation, prosecution and sanctioning.
These two stakeholder groups are the first line of support for victims and their relatives. Jointly, the consortium carried out activities that include documentation of human rights abuses, capacity building sessions for various stakeholder groups (including training of police officers and GHRDs), community dialogues and creating spaces for mutual understanding and advocacy concerning the Sustainable Development Goal 16. The UMKU project focuses on three urban settlements in Nairobi Country; Mathare, Kamukunji and Embakasi North.
The unique composition of the consortium, two international and two community-based organisations with continuous presence in Kenya, has several advantages. On the one hand, it allowed for local ownership and a contextualised strategy built on local knowledge, updated analysis and power mapping. On the other hand, it was linked to international frameworks and global strategies on how best human rights abuses can be prevented and managed.
In February 2020 the consortium organised the international conference 'Every Voice Matters – collaborative approaches to safety in Nairobi’s urban settlements’ in Mathare. The conference was attended by Dr Agnes Callamard, Director of Colombia University Global Freedom of Expression initiative and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, a delegation of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk (UK), national authorities, human rights defenders, community members and the media, among others.
The UMKU project finished in 2020. This short video shows some of the activities and impacts of this project: