Mercy Corps Nigeria CIPP Program, Inaugurates Women Peace Council in Plateau State
Written by Joey Shekwonuzhibo on April 15, 2021
According to Council on Foreign Relations, “Women’s Participation in Conflict Prevention and Resolution can improve outcomes before, during, and after conflict. But women are often excluded from formal peace processes. Between 1992 and 2019, women constituted, on average, 13 percent of negotiators, 6 percent of mediators, and 6 percent of signatories in major peace processes around the world. While there has been some progress in women’s participation, about seven out of every ten peace processes still did not include women mediators or women signatories—the latter indicating that few women participated in leadership roles as negotiators, guarantors, or witnesses”
The Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) Program of Mercy Corps Nigeria on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021, inaugurated 60 diverse, local women leaders in Plateau State into a community-level, Peace Building Council. The inauguration of the women into the peace council serves to create expand platforms for grassroots women to meaningfully engage with members of their community including religious leaders, government, and other relevant stakeholders to address triggers of violence, gender inequalities, and discriminations. The Council will support women to play substantive roles in decision-making and peace-building processes at the community level, LGA, and the state level.
The inauguration, which held in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Jos, Plateau State, had stakeholders from State and Local Government, Security agencies, CSOs, and the media. The 60 women were selected from Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, and Riyom Local government Areas, and will work together to identify conflict prevention needs, mapped out strategies to address the issues, and maximize opportunities for amplifying the voices of women and other marginalized groups at local, state and National Levels according to a press release from CIPP.
Speaking on the progress of the Initiative so far, Mr. David Gatare; Chief of Party CIPP at Mercy Corps Nigeria said, “So far a total of 300 women have been inaugurated into Women Peace Councils across five States out of six States of our key implementing states; Benue, Kaduna, Kogi Kano, and the Katsina States. These 60 women were selected because they possess the ability to influence, Mobilize and coordinate with community members across diverse religious and ethnic groups to carry out Peace Initiatives. We executed the first inauguration in September 2020, and we plan to have Women Peace Councils in each of our key implementing states. We are grateful for the support of the Plateau State Government in making the inauguration a success.”
According to one of the participants Niri Pam Lo-Bwai, “women are always on the receiving end when it comes to a crisis, she commends Mercy Corps for the brilliant idea of including women in the peace process since charity begins at hoke it will very easy to inculcate this knowledge to their kids since our men are always out, this will help us teach our children how to tolerant and live in peace with our neighbors. On action plans in ensuring peace processes in my community, since a lot of women contribute to conflicts, we should take responsibility to educate more women in the roles we play. “
“It is very important to include women in peace process because, who are the voice in the house, this platform has provided an opportunity for women to exercise our rights and be peace ambassadors right from our family to our community and even the state at large”, says Simi Francis a Participant
In an interview with the press, Sani Suleiman, Deputy Chief of Party, Mercy Corps said: Women is a constituency that is often affected from different angle, they are mostly at the receiving end. When it comes to peace building, decision making, women are mostly relegated, the reason why Mercy Corps is focusing through deliberate action to amplify the voices of women and to establish this council, is to create that safe space to add their voice the table where women can also begin to play their roles as peace makers not only at home, but also in the society. These women have been taught how to approach their community via survey and analysis from the concerned community, identify different groups, and also through capacity building training to support their actions to implement these through follow up actions.
According to Mrs. Hassan Ayika, (Permanent Secretary of Women Affairs) the women that have been inaugurated today are expected to go back to their various communities and engage strategically with the relevant stakeholder like the traditional leaders on the need to sustain peace on the plateau. These peace processes can be empowered, monitored, and reported to see what the women are doing on the Plateau to sustain the initiative of Mercy Corps’.
Mercy Corps’ CIPP Program is committed to amplifying the voices of women and addressing gender gaps in conflict prevention, management, and peacebuilding through; Integration of women leaders into peace structures; capacity development and support for women-led peace initiatives, and; Enhancement of women’s networks to build a movement for strategic conflict prevention and response. This activity will also contribute to the UN’s SGD 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequality), and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions). CIPP is supported by USAID and implemented through a consortium, led by Mercy Corps that includes Africa Radio Drama Association (ARDA), Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC), Pastoral Resolve (PARE), and Savannah Centre for Diplomacy & Development (SCDDD)