SMA Provincial Leader commends the work of SHALOM

“Shalom’s contextually driven, rigorous but adaptable and forward-looking methodology represents a model approach towards peace-building in highly complex situations, such as those that pertain in Northern Kenya. The approach, with its emphasis on community leadership, stakeholder participation, high technical competency, logic models, results frameworks, stories of change and advocacy linkages also reflects current best practice within both the peace-building and development sectors.”
– Dr. Mike Williams

In 2009, Fr. Padraig Devine SMA, supported by Fr. Ollie Noonan SMA, founded the SHALOM Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) in Nairobi, Kenya. Since then, the organization has achieved remarkable results and has captured the attention of the international media and foreign institutions.

The success of SHALOM is based on its methodology and focus on an integrated and holistic approach to peacebuilding. SHALOM does not react to the symptoms of conflicts but rather attempts to understand and address the underlying causes.
In a recent interview with the SMA Communications Department, reflecting on his term as the Provincial Leader of the Irish Province of the Society of African Missions, Fr. Michael McCabe SMA, spoke of his high regard for the work of SHALOM:

“A primary example of our missionaries working in the service of the Church’s mission of Peace and Justice is that of Fr. Padraig Devine and Fr. Oliver Noonan, in Kenya, through SHALOM. I was a board member of SHALOM before I left Kenya and witnessed the genesis of an idea that is growing from strength to strength and will, I believe, be recognized as one of the great contributions by Irish missionaries in helping to bring peace and reconciliation to Africa.”

“The success of Shalom,” Fr. McCabe continued, “is in its determination to remove the underlying causes of ethnic, religious and tribal disagreements that wreck the lives of ordinary people. Padraig realised that to achieve this he needed to recruit a highly skilled team of academics and conflict management practitioners to train teachers and tribal leaders in the art and skills of conflict resolution and reconciliation.

I personally believe that while there are many missionary and religious groups involved in the ministry of peace and justice, the approach of SHALOM is unique is addressing the underlying causes of conflict in the areas where it is working.”

To emphasize his point, Fr. McCabe quoted from a statement by Dr. Mike Williams, an international development consultant, who recently carried out an effectiveness review of the programmes on conflict transformation and peace-building conducted by SHALOM in Eastern Africa. Dr. Williams awarded SHALOM the highest possible rating while stating:

“Shalom’s contextually driven, rigorous but adaptable and forward-looking methodology represents a model approach towards peace-building in highly complex situations, such as those that pertain in Northern Kenya. The approach, with its emphasis on community leadership, stakeholder participation, high technical competency, logic models, results frameworks, stories of change and advocacy linkages also reflects current best practice within both the peace-building and development sectors.”

The SMA Communications Department has covered many stories related to the work of SHALOM on the SMA website, emphasizing the esteem with which we hold the work of the organization. In 2017 we highlighted an article on the organization by EurekAlert that was picked up by international media sources and which we encourage our readers to review again. The article summarizes the work of SHALOM and its many successful outcomes since its inception less than a decade ago, and can be accessed by clicking on the headline below:

The peace builders of Northern Kenya; Successful research-led model spreads to other African nations

In conclusion Fr. McCabe said he wished to commend Frs. Padraig and Oliver in their leadership and administration of Shalom and hopes the organization continues to develop and expand its reach across Africa, especially supporting the work of the United Nations in helping the African Union to deliver the Great Green Wall.