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Palgrave Macmillan

Women, Religion, and Peace-Building

Gusii and Maasai Women of Faith in Kenya

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Critically engages with the peacebuilding efforts of Maasai and Gusii women of faith in Kenya
  • Builds on grassroots work to develop a gender-responsive conflict analysis tool and peacebuilding framework
  • Integrates theory and praxis to provide tools for researchers, practitioners, and activists alike

Part of the book series: Human Rights Interventions (HURIIN)

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About this book

This book explores the peacebuilding ideas and experiences of Maasai and Gusii women of faith in Kenya. Women of faith across the world have long demonstrated their leadership in peacebuilding. They have achieved this despite their underrepresentation in formal peacebuilding systems and the persistent lack of consideration for their critical contributions, and in the face of insecurity and violence against their very bodies. Their efforts include daily practices of sharing resources, building social cohesion, promoting human relations, and interlinking psychological, social, political, and spiritual encounters. This book provides a gender-responsive peacebuilding framework that leverages the intersectionality of women’s diverse identities and roles as they navigate both secular and religious spaces for peace. The book will appeal to researchers and teachers as well as practitioners and activists.

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Table of contents (5 chapters)


“There is much talk these days about the importance of women in peacebuilding – from the heights of the UN Security Council, to aid-funders' log-frame analyses. It is far less common to find accounts of detailed analysis of what happens on the ground. Dr Ogega has had much practical experience of working with women peacebuilders across Africa, and has witnessed their peacebuilding actions first-hand, often against a backdrop of extreme forms of violence that target women during conflict. She saw women exercising leadership in peacebuilding – but also recognised that they were often motivated by faith in taking this course of action. In this book, she explores the peacebuilding activities women undertake on the ground in a relatively remote part of Kenya, amongst Maasai and Gusii communities which had experienced extreme forms of violence. Furthermore, she uncovers how their different faiths drove their motivation, values, and actions, in spite of living in highly patriarchal societies with religious structures dominated by men.  This research experience culminated in a transferable Gender-Responsive and Inclusive Conflict Analysis Tool, as well as shining a much-needed spotlight on the hidden peacebuilding leadership undertaken by women of faith.”

— Donna Pankhurst, PhD., Professor Emerita, University of Bradford, UK

“Ogega’s book elevates the knowledge and agency of women that have been traditionally positioned as voiceless and disempowered. Her anthropological approach presents these women’s faith as a rich tapestry, both spiritual and a tangible tool in their struggle for sustainable peace. She also insists, compellingly, that the privileging of these women’s narratives is as revealing for the scholar of peace studies as a close study of resolutions and high level negotiation about implementation. The book sheds light on men’s perspectives on masculinities, warrior masculinities, and their own vulnerability.”

— Chiseche Mibenge, PhD.  Director Gender initiatives at Episcopal Relief and Development


“Dr. Ogega's book provides deep insights into the too-often-ignored women of faith who intervene to stop violence, promote peace, and offer healing. While these stories provide practical and theoretical insights from which peacemakers can build better programs, the work goes farther, challenging misguided masculine concepts of violent bravery and courage with a portrait of the non-violent bravery and courage of these women who have bettered their world through a living statement of faith. In the end, Dr. Ogega engages the presumption of gender equality as a struggle to make women equal to men, and suggests that we men begin to explore how we might become the equals of these women.”

— Wade Channell, Senior Economic Growth Advisor for Gender(ret.), USAID, USA 


“This book is a thoughtful and nuanced piece of research that leverages an intersectional lens to name and appreciate the deep work of women peacebuilders.  Ogega takes great care to frame the role of religion and faith for women doing this work, making her analysis accessible and clear to the reader. Ogega is also direct and unapologetic in her centering "multiple gendered identities" for wmen in faith, paying homage and respect to the work they do on behalf of all of us.”

— Lisa Jackson, Head of Social Ventures at Tides, USA 

“This book provides a much needed (and all too rare) account of the nuanced and deeply contextualised dynamics of gender, conflict, and peacebuilding. Ogega’s focus on religious faith as a resource actively used by women to negotiate for themselves and their families avoids overly simplistic narratives of victimhood. Her intersectional and multi-layered analysis is highly recommended to scholars and practitioners working on gender, development, and peacebuilding.”

— Anna Mdee, PhD., Professor in the Politics of Global Development, University of Leeds, UK


“In this excellent monograph, Jackie Ogega presents an in-depth analysis of women’s struggles in peacebuilding in Kenya. Ogega’s description of these women of faith from Maasai and Gusii communities in Kenya tells the story not only of women’s agency in difficult socio-political and cultural settings in Kenya, but also of their courage to dare to make change, a situation that many African women face on a daily basis. The commitment to peace demonstrated by these women faced with cultural patriarchy, political and ethnic marginalization, and gender-based violence and discrimination is what makes this book a unique read. The book is relevant for students and lecturers in peace and sociological studies, as well as human rights activists.” 

— Elias Opongo, PhD., Senior lecturer and director of the Centre for Research, Training and Publications, Hekima University College, Nairobi, Kenya



“The critical role of women to development and peace-building efforts is increasingly being recognized by grassroots organizations, international institutions, NGOs, and academics. Through her attention to Maasai and Gusii communities in Kenya, Dr. Ogega provides a robust analysis of the multiple ways in which women of faith foster peace throughout their lifetimes. In her focus on religious communities and the women within them, her work stands out for its attention to the ways ethnic identities and historical political realities intersect with religious identities. She skillfully grounds the book in insights from her decades of experience as a practitioner and scholar, while still eloquently centering the stories and humanity of the communities we meet. This is a book for all of those who want to be committed to the complex task of peacebuilding in today’s world.”


— Amy Reynolds, PhD., Associate Professor of Sociology. Wheaton College, USA

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutherville-Timonium, USA

    Jaqueline Ogega

About the author

Jaqueline Ogega (Ph.D., University of Bradford, UK) is a social scientist with extensive experience in international development, peacebuilding, and humanitarian relief programming and field research. She is the Senior Director of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion at World Vision USA, and the Co-Founder and president of Mpanzi: Empowering Women and Girls. She is the author of Home Is Us, a story about hope and resilience.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Women, Religion, and Peace-Building

  • Book Subtitle: Gusii and Maasai Women of Faith in Kenya

  • Authors: Jaqueline Ogega

  • Series Title: Human Rights Interventions

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Political Science and International Studies, Political Science and International Studies (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-89726-0Published: 24 March 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-89729-1Published: 25 March 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-89727-7Published: 23 March 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2946-5117

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-5125

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 111

  • Number of Illustrations: 2 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: International Relations, Politics and Religion

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