Dr. Roseanne Njiru is a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences and Development Studies at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa. She holds a PhD in Sociology (2015) and a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights (2014), both from the University of Connecticut, USA. She received a Master’s in Sociology in 2005 from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Her research interests are in gender, health, human rights, forced migration (internal displacement), peace, and security. Her doctoral research is on gendered HIV transmission in marriages in Kenya. She has also widely researched on Kenya’s electoral violence, human rights of displaced persons, and the politics of internal displacement. She has published a book and articles on these research areas. Dr. Njiru is actively engaged in the University of Nairobi-UNESCO Chair on Human Rights’ program on “Universities for a Sustainable Culture of Peace and Security” where they research and conduct capacity building on peace and security. She has contributed a book chapter on the “Right to water, peace, and security for sustainable livelihoods in Turkana County, Kenya” currently under review by University of Nairobi Press.
Her recent publications include, “Outsiders in their own Nation: The Politics of ‘Internal’ Displacement in Kenya” in Current Sociology Monograph (2018), and “‘As a Woman I Cannot Just Leave the House’: gendered spaces and HIV vulnerability in marriages in Kenya” (with Bandana Purkayastha) in Journal of Gender Studies (2017).
This research examines the role of health workers in peacebuilding in Kenya following periods of ethnic-related election violence. While there are numerous efforts towards post-conflict peacebuilding and development, the institution of health work has not been adequately incorporated into peacebuilding. I focus on public and private community-centered primary health care clinics in two informal settlements in Nairobi— Mathare and Kibera—that report the highest levels of conflicts and tensions and ask: 1) How do health workers conceptualize and link their activities to peacebuilding? 2) What programs do the health clinics run, and how do these programs facilitate community interactions and affect the social fabric? 3) What are the commonalities and possibilities for cooperation between the different roles and activities of the health workers in public and private clinics? How might these be harnessed to promote peace? 4) What factors constrain their activities and how do they impact peacebuilding in communities? I employ qualitative methods: 1) In-depth interviews with health workers from 4 purposively selected health clinics (2 public and two private-NGO), community leaders and elders, 2) Focus Group Discussions with community members to obtain information on how clinic programs and activities shape inter-ethnic interactions and affect the social fabric, 3) observations of interactions with clinic programs. Data should generate knowledge on the place of the health sector in peacebuilding, how public and private sectors can interface to create synergies for peacebuilding and deal with challenges towards this goal. Study findings will advance the Peace through Heath (PtH) theoretical framework and discussions in peace and conflict studies. For policy and practice, the study will identify specific health initiatives and indicators that can measure the contribution of health to peacebuilding.