HUMAES would particularly like to appreciate UNDP for their guidance on implementation of Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project; working with UNDP trained peace committee of Ikoto County to implement a Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project in Isore, Geria (Ikoto) County and Magwi County to support implementation of the project for the Isore community in Lobone, Magwi County. Apart from working with the UNDP-trained peace committee, HUMAES are working in collaboration with the local authorities of the two counties.
On 24th November 2020 HUMAES was privileged to meet with key community leaders of Isore, Geria (Ikoto County), the meeting shared the purpose of the Peace and Community Cohesion (PaCC) project. The project was warmly welcomed by the community leaders.
The community leaders presented the key challenges faced by the communities. HUMAES was told that in 2018, conflict engulfed Isore, Kicenga, and Lobone. The conflict was sparked off by looting of natural resources, (particularly timbers) from Isore by key politicians of Magwi County. The activities divided the communities into two, one community for and another community against, which led to fighting among the community. To secure the interests of the politicians, the politicians sent soldiers under the brigade commander of Lobone to Isore, who beat members of the community, looted their animals, burned down houses and arrested some community leaders. The action of the soldiers further displaced people down to the foot of the mountain while some who remained on top of the mountain broke away from Magwi County and went to Geria*Ikoto County. Thus, the local authorities feel that there is a need to reconcile the communities of Isore, KIcenga and Lobone so that the people can move freely and share common resources.
Apart from community reconciliation, the community leaders also revealed that there is no health facility in Isore Geria (Ikoto) County. The communities have to travel six hours on foot to KIcenga and Lobone to access health facilities. Hence, there is a need to establish at least a first aid centre in Isore to stabilize patients before accessing major treatment in KIcenga and Lobone.
Further still, according to them and witnessed by HUMAES, there is only one temporary school which was built by the Church Missionary Society in late 2000. This year the school has classes up to primary eight (8). However, the school infrastructure is inadequate and there are no qualified teachers to teach the pupils. Hence, there is a need to improve the school infrastructure and send qualified teachers to the school.
Another major problem facing the community is the lack of an access road. This problem is posed by the mountainous location and poor maintenance of the road by the local government. Currently, the area is accessible only by foot which takes approximately six to eight hours for a person to reach the place through mountains, valleys and streams. The community leaders are calling for necessary support to help the community to work on the construction of access roads.
The purpose of sharing this report with you is to lobby and advocate for your support towards the neglected and conflict-torn communities of Isore. If you can help we would be most grateful. If not, please share this report with any organization who might be able to assist.