Forgiveness and reconciliation rituals: Pathways to depolarization for adolescents in rural Kenya, Cameroon and Ethiopia
TWCF Number
Project Duration
September 1 / 2023
- August 31 / 2025
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
Amount Awarded

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Pamela Wadende
Institution Kisii University

Human beings need peace, prosperity, and harmony in society for people to truly flourish. While every society has its own internal mechanisms and institutions to manage disputes in a way that preserves the integrity and fabric of the society, many such African Indigenous forgiveness and reconciliation rituals have been fading as new social global trends arise. To date, little research has been done on the role of these rituals in promoting peaceful conflict resolution among children and adolescents who represent the future of humanity, or how these rituals contribute to individual and community resilience in the face of adversity.

A project team led by Pamela Wadende at Kisii University will investigate how forgiveness and reconciliation rituals can be useful in helping adolescents from Kenyan Turkana, Ethiopian Amhara and Cameroonian Grassland communities to embrace peaceful conflict resolution processes. 

The project seeks to answer these questions:

  1. What are the mechanisms of depolarizations present in Indigenous African forgiveness and reconciliation rituals?
  2. What adolescent-focused mechanisms of depolarization in these rituals can be adapted to modify an already existing African nation’s model of peaceful conflict resolution?
  3. Do adolescents who participate in these rituals embrace peaceful conflict resolution processes?

 The team will apply the Indigenous African philosophy of Ubuntu to shed light on the psychological, spiritual and developmental value of the rituals, and also to promote global north-global south learning in relation to sustainable conflict resolution.

Ultimately, the project aims to have adapted and contextualized standard psychometric tools to measure polarization and prosociality for adolescents in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Cameroon.

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