NAISULA LESUUDA is the youngest Kenyan woman to bag the prestigious presidential Order of the Grand Warrior for her efforts in bringing peace among warring pastoralists.
Just as Samburu says kenana ntomononi nkosheke meaning a woman always has a kind and a feeling heart. Naisula was not an exceptional one.
Naisula’s honours came from her relentless struggle to unite warring pastoralist communities around the country efforts that have escaped the eye of common wananchi, but caught the President’s. She has since quit her regular job and ventured into bringing peace in troubled areas, rescuing young girls from female genital mutilation and media consultancy.
Naisula’s honours came from her relentless struggle to unite warring pastoralist communities around the country — efforts that have escaped the eye of common wananchi, but caught the President’s. She has since quit her regular job and ventured into bringing peace in troubled areas, rescuing young girls from female genital mutilation and media consultancy.
Naisula’s journey kicked off on the morning of September 15, 2009 when she received a call from a KBC freelancer alerting her that ten people had been killed in cattle rustling at Naibol Kanampiu Village in Laikipia pitting Pokot against Samburu.
“By 8am, he told me 40 people lay dead, 21 of them Samburu women and children who were caught up on a crossfire,” recalls Naisula, a Samburu. She then placed a call to her local MP protesting at the merciless yet avoidable bloodshed.
The Government dispatched a high-powered delegation to the area to reassure the locals on security. Although Naisula was offered a chance to be part of the delegation, she declined. Back in Nairobi, she contacted four fellow Samburu professionals and booked an appointment with Nderitu Mureithi, the area MP.
“After explaining our reasons for the appointment, he asked us ‘what can you do?’ That changed my perception about the whole issue,” says Naisula. Together, they agreed to reach out to their ‘rivals’ — Pokot professionals in Nairobi — to seek ways of prevailing upon the villagers on both sides to cease the bloody animosity.
Surprisingly, Naisula says the bad blood on the ground was replicated among the professionals from the two communities. Later in December, a group of 30 professional went to Laikipia, a trip that they funded out of their pockets. Their deliberations with the locals bore fruits, or so they thought.
The caravan has has become diversified to other violence-prone areas in the country including Marsabit, Isiolo, Kuria and Naivasha, among others. The Laikipia Peace Caravan mutated into Turkwel Peace Caravan, Waso Peace Caravan, Suguta Peace Caravan, Samburu North Peace Caravan, Oasis Peace Caravan, Transmara Peace Caravan, Kuria Peace Caravan, Narok Peace Caravan, Naivasha Peace Caravan, and Kericho Peace Caravan.
Besides the peace initiative — together with her cousin Josephine Kulea — she runs the Samburu Girls Foundation, which rescues girls from FGM. In her free time, Naisula who is in a relationship loves social media, travelling and reading.
In 2010, her great work led to her becoming the youngest Kenyan woman to win the presidential Order of the Grand Warrior.