Building Youth Capacity for Peace in Nigeria

 
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Jun 13, 2014

NEEDCSI attends UN-Inter-Agency Workshop in NY

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased to report to you that from June 1-6, 2014, Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, was in New York City at the invitation of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to participate in a workshop aimed at developing operational guidance and guidelines on young peoples’ participation in peacebuilding. The workshop, organized by the Sub-Working Group on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) which is composed of United Nations (UN) entities such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), non-governmental Organizations, academics and young adults, was conducted at the Girls Scouts Office, 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City, USA.

This guidance is intended to be concrete and evidence-based, as well support the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of successful youth programs on the ground, and to turn the recently launched Guiding Principles on Young People’s Participation in Peacebuilding into concrete measureable actions. Key objectives of the workshop included:

  1. Agreement on key issues and parameters for operational guidelines on young people’s participation in peacebuilding, including selection of thematic sections
  2. Agreement on the key elements of the process for developing the guidelines on young people’s participation in peacebuilding, including consultation methodology, key stakeholders, timeline, and any additional capacity requirements.

United Nations Agencies, Donors Organizations, International and local youth-based, youth focused Organizations represented at the workshop included: Office of the Secretary-General Envoy on Youth, Office of SRSG CAAC, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN DESA Youth, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN PBSO, UN WOMEN, Search for Common Ground, Baha’i International Community, Communities Without Boundaries, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout, World Vision International, Center for Youth Work (Serbia), Open Society Foundation, USAID, Association Nigérienne pour La Promotion des Jeunes, Chanan Development Association  (Pakistan), Youth in Action for development (Sierra Leone), New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation (Nigeria), Peace Spiral Project – Culture of Peace, Interculturality and Human Rights, N, ational Council of Educational Promotion – CONAFE (Mexico), New England Conservatory, etc. The workshop also provided an opportunity for New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation’s Executive Director to make presentation on the peacebuilding and programs with young people to the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD).

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) is co-chaired by Cecile Mazzacurati, Policy Officer, Youth and Gender at the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)/UNFPA and Lakshitha Saji Prelis, Director, Children and Youth Programmes at the Search for Common Ground.

New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation also attended a preparatory meeting with Isabelle Legare, United Alliance of Civilization’s Programming Coordinator at the UNAOC Office located at 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, USA.

Mar 5, 2014

Your Support Recognized and Honoured

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board and Staff at New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, I am very pleased to report to you that your generous support and goodwill, which have made it possible for us to do the work we do, has been recognized internationally and honored by no other individual but His Holiness the Dalai Lama. From February 21-23, 2014, we were invited to San Francisco to receive the Unsung Heroes Award for service to humanity. 

The event, called Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014, was held at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco before a jam-packed ballroom with 700 guests, and broadcast through a live webcast to more than 900 screens around the world. Nominees were gathered by Dick and Ann Grace of Grace Family Vineyards and the Grace Foundation, and organized by a new nonprofit called Wisdom in Action. It was the fourth Unsung Heroes of Compassion celebration; previous ceremonies were held in 2001, 2005 and 2009. The Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award is not about celebrity but about humanity and the compassion. It is about service to our fellow human beings and the millions of people in the world without resources that struggle day-in and day-out just to survive. The event was co-hosted by Dick Grace, actor Peter Coyote, Father Greg Boyle, American Indian Elder Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim and Zen priest Furyu Schroeder. “The joy in the room was iridescent,” Grace said.

The Dalai Lama spoke for approximately 20 minutes before greeting each honouree. He spoke about the progress and the challenges that he sees in the world, and praised Grace for creating an organization that brings such dedicated individuals to wider attention. “The reality is,” he said, “that we are social animals and each of us depends on the community within which we live. It’s as if we are all part of one body, so what happens to others affects us, too. We have to take care of each other.”

 We dedicate this Award to each one of you. We appreciate and honour you for trusting us with your resources to help make a positive difference in our country. You are the real Heroes.

Nov 26, 2013

5th International Interfaith Conference Held

From 25th -26th October, 2013, 156 delegates from three continents gathered at the Treasures Inn & Suites, Jos, Nigeria for the 5th annual Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue in Jos, Nigeria. This year’s them was “The Role of Free and Responsible Media Toward a Peaceful Society Imbued with Dignity and Mutual Respect”. The conference is produced annually by  New Era Educational and Support Foundation and this year included the additional partnership of the United Religions Initiative who had previously been involved in 2011.

The format of this conference includes a round table discussion which brings an interfaith group of youth together from Europe, North America and Africa to engage in a dialogue with political, social and faith leaders on a variety of topics from the media’s role in creating and promoting a peaceful society, what role can young people take in promoting world peace and Christian/Islam peace building efforts in Nigeria.

By the end of the two-day event, participants resolved to do the following:

1. Establish the Golden Rule Chapter in Nigeria to serve as a platform for the entrenchment of mutual respect, tolerance and upholding of human dignity. A National Steering Committee was constituted to that effect and the first meeting was conducted. The Committee will meet again on 7th December to marshal the way forward and plan towards the celebration of the Golden Rule Day on April 5th, 2014.

2. The citizenry and mass media should have an attitudinal and behavioral change on the taste of content.
3. The mass media and people working in the area of peace should give voice to younger people and involved them in peace building activities
4. The mass media and people working in the area of peace should create an inclusive and divergent platform
5. The media should promote responsible citizenship so as to cultivate the culture of non violence through reports that promote human dignity and patriotism.
6. We should all be committed to peace building process and not leave it in the hands of few individuals or groups.
7. All citizens must show practical commitments to peace building in their respective communities by encouraging and getting involved in activities that promote peace
8. Create and promote an ideal vision of a peaceful society irrespective of our diversity in ethnicity, religion, and abilities and otherwise.
9. Translation of the golden rule in various Nigerian languages and working with teachers and schools to enshrine it in school curriculum
10. The Golden Rule and the URI Talking Back to Hate Campaign should be introduced as a community development service (CDS) group in the NYSC Scheme and in schools in Colleges.
11. Wherever there is violence of any nature, we should come out openly to challenge and condemn it, because it is not culturally, religiously or otherwise accepted.
12. Irrespective of our religious affiliations, we ought to teach young religious leaders to teach the truth and the right thing and to avoid inflammatory sermons that could incite the citizens.
13. We should all work towards ensuring a strong and fair judicial system.

Links:

Sep 11, 2013

Progress Report of our YSF Project

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings, Peace and blessings to you. We are very pleased to send you report of our Ongoing Youth Solidarity Fund Project, supported by the UNAOC. The Project, “Building Youth Capacity for Peace and Good Governance in Nigeria” is a 6-month project implemented by New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation and supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Initiative through its Youth Solidarity Fund, 2013 Edition. The project aims at diminishing gaps, healing wounds, and leading participants to experience face-to-face forgiveness, and thereby changing the fabric of Nigeria person-to-person, as familiarity and trust increases. The project will support young Nigerians in their healing process with three components:

(1) moving toward forgiveness by giving voice to carefully-listened-to personal life narratives, with the experience that "an enemy is one whose story we have not heard," (2) an educational, intellectual framework of sound psychological, biological and spiritual principles of a life-lived that leads toward healing, and reconciliation, and (3) Responsible outreach with grass-roots initiatives that includes vastly more citizens awakening to build authentic Nigerian community, beyond war, living united as one. The project will help Nigerian youth to build strong cross-cultural relationships. It will provide youth meaningful purpose and active roles in their communities. The training will provide life skills of dignifying one another through communication excellence in peacebuilding.

The project will help the participants to socialize across boundaries of culture and faith and experience volunteerism from a faith-based community of youth and educators. Participants will visit religious sites to draw from the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of humanity to become Young Peace Ambassadors. Target groups for the project include 150 male and female representatives of youth groups and associations, community leaders including religious leaders and teachers in Jos North and South. The participants will learn about each other face-to-face, in a culturally neutral environment of fun and cooperative creativity. They will learn to deconstruct stereotypes that fuel fear and ignorance of the “other” in order to build respect and trust.

From 8th – 9th August, 2013, the project hosted 20 teachers drawn from Nine secondary schools in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas of Plateau State, for a 2-Day Teacher Training on Peace Education, Negotiation Skills, Advocacy and Conflict Transformation utilizing Non-Violence Approaches. The 2-Day Training was conducted at the Assembly Hall of Creative Minds International Academy, Jos, Nigeria. The Participants were drawn from Creative Minds International Academy, Jos, Ziebok Private School, Jos, United Baptist Model School, Jos, Yedi Private School, Jos, Liberty Comprehensive College, Jos, Remus Private School, Fed Lowcost, Jos, St. Bucknor Peculiar Academy, Kufang, Jos, Christ Arrival College and Zang Commercial, Bukuru, Jos.

The Facilitators were experienced trainers from the USA, Japan and Nigeria. Ema Miroslava Billings hold a Masters Degree in Conflict Transformation with a focus on Psychosocial Trauma Healing at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at the Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, VA USA, and is very passionately dedicated to peace and psychosocial trauma and well being theory and practice, has great analytical and strategic thinking skills. Ema demonstrates even greater awareness and deep care for people in conflict situations. Akiko Ishihara, MA MPH from Tokyo, Japan is an associate professor of conflict transformation and peacebuilding at Kumamoto University, Japan. She is passionate about sharing conflict transformation and peacebuilding ideas with youth and adults, and working in the affected areas by the nuclear disaster in Japan. Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba is an Educator, a success-driven visionary, Community Builder, Peace activist and Conflict Resolution Practitioner with several years experience conducting mediation, training and facilitation, especially in West Africa. He is the Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation. Peter Ijigue Monkom is the Project Coordinator for the “Building Youth Capacity for Peace and Good Governance in Nigeria”.

Training modules included: Advocacy, Understanding Conflict, Introduction to Communication, Communication Techniques, Creating a Culture of Peace, Peace Education & Negotiation. The Participants were 20 Secondary School teachers, both male and female in gender along with representing both the Muslim and Christian faiths. The participants’ knowledge base of conflict and building a culture of peace ranged from little awareness to well informed. Many viewed conflict as an unnecessary evil when asked to share their views of conflict though later learned that conflict is a natural aspect of life.

Friday, 16th August 2013, Four (4) members of the Project Advocacy and Community Mobilization Team, led by NEEDCSI Executive Director and the Project Coordinator, conducted a Project Advocacy Meeting with the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding to the Plateau State Governor, Hon. Barrister Timothy Baba Parlong, at his office in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. During the Advocacy Meeting, the Project Team said they were at the office of the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding to the State Governor to formally inform the Government about the project and to seek official support and collaboration towards the overall success of the project. The Project Team also presented copies of Advocacy and IEC including Car Stickers and T-Shirts developed and produced by the project to the Special Adviser on Peacebuilding. The Special Adviser expressed delight and congratulated the Project Team for being selected as finalists and eventual Winners of the UNOAC Youth Solidarity Fund, 2013 Edition, as pledged the support and collaboration of the State Governance, through his office, towards ensuring that the projects succeeds. Seven (7) were present and actively participated in the meeting.

Further details of project implementation are also available at our project website: http://needcsi-unoacysf2013edition.webs.com/

Links:

Jun 26, 2013

2013 Do One Thing Campaign Report

2013 Do One Thing Campaign Banner
2013 Do One Thing Campaign Banner

In May 2013, New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation is partnered with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), UNESCO and a wide coalition of partners from corporations to civil society to launch the 2013 world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, aimed at engaging people around the world to Do One Thing to support Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. Following the adoption in 2001 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

In Jos, the Plateau State, Nigeria’s “Home of Peace and Tourism”, the “2013 Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Conference”, was conducted at the Main Conference Hall of CRUDAN GUEST House, Sabon Barki, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, to mark the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity and Inclusion for Dialogue and Development, on May 21, 2013, beginning from 8am to 4pm. The theme we chose for this year’s event in Jos, Nigeria was: Forging Peace Through Understanding and Inclusion. Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.  The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better. The 2013 campaign, by encouraging people and organizations from around the world to take concrete action to support diversity, aims:

  • To raise awareness worldwide about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion.
  • To build a world community of individuals committed to support diversity with real and every day-life gestures.
  • To combat polarization and stereotypes to improve understanding and cooperation among people from different cultures.

Cultural Diversity does matter. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development.  At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

The event was very well attended by over 100 participants, representing the Government, Civil Society Groups, traditional, cultural and religious leaders, teachers and students. Arrival and Registrations commenced as early as 8am. After the prayers and brief introductions of Invited Guests, students of Creative Minds International Academy, Jos (www.creativemindsacademy.net), entertained participants for about thirty (30) minutes in traditional Africa songs and cultural dances. This was followed by the Welcome Address delivered by Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, on behalf of the Organizers and collaborators. The Opening Statement was the presented by Hon. Elisha Buba Yero, Global Council Trustee for the United Religions Initiative (URI), a US-based International Organization promoting daily interfaith dialogue and a culture of Peace around the world. Participants then had the priviledge to listen to a video Goodwill Message for Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, from New York, USA. More Goodwill Messages were received from the Hon. Commissioner, Plateau State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hon. Barr. Timothy Parlong, Special Adviser to the Plateau State Governor on Peacebuilding, Mrs. Betty Alaribe, Founder and Proprietor, Victory International Schools, Mr. Godwin Okoko, Nigeria Country Representative of Apurimac Onlus, among others. Meals were then served from 10:0am – 11am.

A Special Discussion Session on the Theme: Forging Peace Through Understanding and Inclusion, including a Question and Answer Session then followed, facilitated by Ema Miroslava Billings, NEEDCSI’s Director of Development, from the Center for Justice and Peace of the Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. A Keynote Address was also delivered by Nnaemego, Nkiruka Stella, BL. Law, MSc Social Work, PNM, MNIM, Founder/CEO of the Abuja-based Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FRESH). Group Discussions centered on the content of the Paper presented. The paper observed that that for peace to exist, citizens must learn to promote mutual respect, understanding and inclusion. Some of the Key ingredients for forging Peace highlighted at the Campaign include, but not limited to: Right Information, Interfaith Dialogue, Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue, Forums on Ethnicity and Religion, Use of ICT in Information Dissemination, Positive Engagement of Migrants, Public Consultations, etc.

An important major component of the 2013 Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Campaign in Jos, Nigeria, was the Youth Interfaith Service-Learning Activity, to encourage peace through service projects and education among youths of different faith traditions in Plateau State, to help build up and encourage youths and families to live a life of strong moral value, recognizing that the peace of our communities, our nation and the world begins with the peace of the individual and to help participants to socialize across boundaries of culture and faith and to experience volunteerism from a faith-based community of youths, educators and experts.

50 Students, mainly from Christians, Muslims from Creative Minds International Academy and Victory International School, both in Jos, Nigeria participate in a 3-hour Interfaith Youth Street Cleaning Exercise. The Students cleared and burnt garbage along Michael Botmang Street in the Dadin Kowa District of Jos South Local Government Council.

KEY DECISIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

The women, men and Youth Participants at the 2013 Do One Thing Campaign in Jos, Nigeria, provided recommendations to decision-makers, institutions and individuals for dignifying everyone and our shared values. In a safe space, the Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Campaign created a living model for prosperity, coexistence beyond war, and restoring friendships and trust. Key Decisions and recommendations included:

  1. A commitment to embracing our common humanity, respecting our differences and positively transforming the world we have inherited.
  2. Advocacy visits to the Ministry of Education to formally request for the creation of frameworks for the inclusion of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion, Religion and Peace Studies, beginning at the Secondary School level in Plateau State.
  3. Participants agreed on the need to conduct the Campaign annually and to get more youth and Organizations actually involved.

PUBLICITY:

Photographs and Videos of our 2013 Do One Thing Campaign in Jos, Nigeria are now available at the following links: .Facebook Photos:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201310733513455.1073741829.1326326727&type=3

Youtube Videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Him3ymKa7TE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-xW7tl38ew

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbiSfOgzm-Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lisLgHHTxQo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMvrjZgyDKE

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Links:

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Project Leader

Dr. Ivorgba Emmanuel Ande

Jos, Plateau State Nigeria

Where is this project located?