In Kenya during the 1990’s, there was a general increase of violent confrontations nation-wide emanating from attempts at constitutional reforms, growing tensions around multi-party democracy, poor governance practices at national level, and lack of public safety. Chemchemi Ya Ukweli (CYU) – Kiswahili for Wellspring of Truth—Trust is an interfaith movement that was founded in 1997 by a group of religious leaders concerned about this growing culture of violence in Kenya. Its founding fathers, who were rooted in the ideas of Catholic Social Teaching, introduced the concept of “active non-violence” as an alternative means in the struggle for peace and justice in that country.
This process was supported by several international partners, among them Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Since that time, CYU has succeeded in creating awareness broadly on various forms of injustice in Kenya and has managed to mobilize people to demand their rights through peaceful actions. Since inception, CYU has also changed from its original roots within the Catholic Church to a more inclusive movement, which has put a strong emphasis on its inter-faith nature, thereby reaching out to other Christian denominations, Muslims, Baha’is and Hindus. During the same time, its strategies also expanded to include civic education and community policing.