Women-led peace networks take action in Nigeria
Nigeria / Freedom for Peace / 19 sep 2017
In the Plateau State of northern Nigeria, violence has been the norm since 2001. The Muslim community was one of the hardest hit in this ethno-religious crisis, in which at least 4,000 have so far lost their lives. The strife can be blamed on political and economic rivalry, disputes between indigenous and non-indigenous groups, as well as religious differences. But a women-led peace network in the area is now trying to unite communities of different faiths, and leave the past conflict behind. The 400 female members of the group, which was created with the support of UN Women and the EU-funded Promoting Women's Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria, meet every month to discuss the issues and bring any serious concerns to the attentions of community leaders.
We need peace', says Hadiza Adam, a member of the group. 'We are tired on conflicts. So many innocent people have died and we have to stop the violence. That is why I contribute to peace-making.' Maijidda Garba echoes her sentiments: 'We went to churches to share our mission to bring Muslims and Christians together again. They said they wanted the same thing... It was a truly beautiful experience. That was the first time many of the Christians had stepped into our community since 2001.'
These peace networks are currently active in four local governance areas of the state, with plans to expand them. ‘Strengthening women’s engagement in peace dialogue and mediation is part of the peace-building process and could lead to sustainable peace,’ says Njeri Kakuru, UN Women Programme Manager.