Dr. Namachanja is a holder of a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (2008-2013). Among the course she studied included advanced seminar in peace and conflict Studies; global politics, diplomacy and foreign policy; advanced research methodology in peace and conflict studies; democracy, human rights and development; regime types and conflict; and peace paths in Conflict.
Her thesis/research paper was on Trauma Intervention Methods and Healing among the Sabaot Community during the 2006 to 2008 violence in Mt. Elgon, Kenya. The study looked into both traditional and non-traditional methods of trauma intervention and healing among indigenous people. The Sabaot community was used as a case study. The reason for exploring traditional methods is due to the fact that for transformative trauma healing, especially among indigenous people such as traditional Africans, it is important to consider their culture and traditions. This is because their lifestyle including issues of health and ill-health is guided by their cultures and traditions.
She attained an MA in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg Virginia, USA (2001-2003). The courses studied were on mediation and facilitating dialogue; philosophy and methods of conflict research; restorative justice; conflict theories of conflict; conflict transformation; non-violence; of peace building; trauma healing and reconciliation; African understanding of trauma healing and reconciliation; globalization and conflict; and Women and Peace Building.
As part of the above study, she carried out a research on how to enhance collaboration between Non-Governmental Organization workers and Governments Officials working at different levels of society for effective conflict transformation in Kenya. The research paper was based on her experience of working in the field of peace building in the early 1990s in Kenya, during which she learnt of the many peace practitioners from the civil society that did tremendous work in intervening in violent armed conflicts in Africa which resulted in the reduction of violent conflicts in some regions. However, they had very little collaboration with top leaders from governments. After many years of their struggle they came to a realization that peace building is a collective responsibility and for them to tackle the root causes of their conflicts, they needed a hand of top level actors and especially government leaders. Yet, for such collaboration to take place, there was a need to bridge the gap between the top-level government leaders and civil society peace workers. The study was carried out in Western Kenya, one of the three regions that were affected by the 1991/1992 ethnic clashes.
She attained certificates in Peace Keeping and Human Rights at the United Nations International Courses (UN-IC) offered by the United Nations University based in Tokyo, Japan (June 2003). Namachanja’s foundation training is Diploma in Social Development Work from Embu Development Institute, Kenya (1989-1991).
Namachanja has a rich professional experience spanning to over 25 years. She managed programs right from the community level to international level. She has worked with local, national and international institutions as highlighted below.
Dr. Namachanja is currently in Berlin, Germany on a ten month sabbatical as Richard von Weizsäcker Seniour Fellowship under Robert Bosch Academy. Through the Richard von Weizsäcker Fellowship the Robert Bosch Stiftung seeks to help shape important policy debates on the challenges of the 21st century.
The Fellowship was established in honor of former German Federal President Dr. Richard von Weizsäcker, who served as Member of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Board of Trustees. President von Weizsäcker was instrumental in shaping the foundation’s international engagement ever since.
From 2016 to the end of 2017, was managed a Social Healing and Reconciliation program for communities from violent conflict regions in Kenya under Green String Network (see www.green-string.org) where she committed 50% of her time. Green String Network created a framework known as Kumekucha (It’s a New Dawn) in partnership with the Office of the President for community healing and social reconciliation for the Coastal Communities in Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River Counties. Coast is one of the Regions in Kenya that has suffered from historical injustices and marginalization that have left communities traumatized and vulnerable to incitement to aggression.
The main objective of Kumekucha program is to resolve and prevent violent conflicts. GSN believes that accepting, acknowledging and developing positive attitudes is key to the healing process. The healing model is based on rebuilding trust and human relationship as well as trauma awareness. This is done by creating safe space for community members to have discussions around issues affecting them and their communities and how they have been impacted by those issues. The 90 days’ group discussion uses paintings and storytelling to depict victimhood, aggression and the healing journey.
She uses the remaining 50% of her time to do consultancy work in Eastern and the Horn of Africa in the areas of Transitional Justice, Conflict Transformation, Social Healing and Reconciliation.
She worked for Pact International as the Deputy Chief of Party for Peace in East and Central Africa (PEACE II) Program from 2007-2009 and later as Chief of Party for Peace in East and Central Africa (PEACE III) Program from May 2014- April 2015. The regional program aimed at enhancing African leadership in the management of conflict within the Horn of Africa by improving the ability of communities and peace committees to respond to cross-border conflict especially in the Somali and Karamoja Clusters. The program worked closely with IGAD CEWARN program.
From 2009-2013, she was one of the Commissioners of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC-Kenya). The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC-Kenya) was established in the wake of the tragic events of the 2007/2008 Post-Election Violence (PEV). TJRC’s broad mandate was to inquire into gross violation of human rights and historical injustices that occurred in Kenya from 12 December 1963 when Kenya became independent to 28 February 2008 after the National Peace Agreement that resulted from the mediation process by H.E Kofi Anan and his team was signed by the Coalition government (See TJRC abridged Version at https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/tjrc/10/)
Namachanja served the commission in the acting position as a chairperson from 2nd November 2010 to 27th February 2012. She steered TJRC amidst challenges and controversies for 18 months to the successful completion of its term and mandate. Among the tasks accomplished by TJRC included.
From 2005-2008, she worked for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as an In-House consultant in Peace Building and Post Conflict Reconstruction for Eastern and Southern Africa. The work entailed providing consultancy in the areas of information collection and analysis, conducting studies, formulating peace building and post conflict reconstruction project plans. Another role was holding discussions on project proposals with government officials and drawing up terms of reference for project contracts and budget estimates, as well as project evaluation.
Dr. Namachanja coordinated Peace and Development Network (PEACENET) from 1996-2003. PEACENET is a National Umbrella organization for Faith groups, NGOs, and CBOs working to transform conflicts in Kenya. Namachanja coordinated member’s activities, managed the secretariat, fundraised and mobilized resources, organized coalition and advocacy meetings around issues of conflict, and facilitated information, resources and experience sharing among the members. PEACENET members under her coordination were very instrumental in pushing for the democratic changes that Kenya attained in the early 1990s.
At the community, she worked as the Coordinator for Relief and Rehabilitation for 40,000 Victims of Ethnic Clashes from 1993-1995. Through this period, she journeyed with Kenyans internally displaced People (IDP) of the 1991/2 ethnic clashes starting with registration and formation of management structures in the camps, food purchase and distribution. She organized for medical care through referral hospitals and mobile clinics to the camps.
Frustrated by the camp conditions, in late 1993 she sought ways of getting the victims back to their farms by organizing meetings in the camps to find out under what circumstances they left their homes. She then reached out to the perpetrators to find out why they evicted their neighbors and after a series of workshops they accepted to meet with their neighbors to discuss their problems that led to resettlement, a process in which she participated in 1994. Back in their farms/homes, Namachanja initiated reconciliation meetings for relationship building for sustainable peace.
She worked a Social Worker cum Teacher in Utange Refugee Camp from 1991 to 1992 Utange Refugee Camp in Kenya held over 30,000 Somali Refugees. Apart from teaching Kiswahili in the Refugee school established by the Catholic Diocese of Mombasa, she organized single mothers into groups, based on their skills for income generating activities. She worked under the Catholic Diocese of Mombasa.
Dr. Namachanja is an international trainer and has facilitated the following trainings and Workshops on Peace building, trauma healing, transitional justice at Johannesburg, Cape Town (South Africa), Osaka (Japan), Arusha (Tanzania), United Nations University, Tokyo (Japan), Les Aspen Center for Government (USA), UNAMIS (Sudan), International Peace Academy (New York, USA), Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Bonn, Germany), The Hague (Netherlands), UN Commission on Status of Women (New York, USA), Cumberland (UK), Helsinki (Finland), Cambodia and Sri Lanka
Globally, Dr. Namachanja is one of the Women nominees for the 1,000 Women for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Nationally, she is one of the three women in Kenya recognized as having been Pillars of Peace in intervening in Kenya’s first ethnic clashes that occurred in 1991-92 and 1997. (See a report by Kathina Monica entitled, Unveiling Women as Pillars of Peace: Peace Building in Communities)