Jun 7, 2016

We did it! A special message from our volunteers in Nigeria!

Jelilat, Generations For Peace Nigeria
Jelilat, Generations For Peace Nigeria

Because of your generosity, the #IWantToBe Empowering Women for Peace campaign finally reached the $7000 mark! Thank you for always believing in our volunteers and the value of this programme. We could not have done this without you all.

Over the weekend, we caught up with several volunteers in Nigeria to see how things are going, and of course to share a very important update with them! After absorbing the wonderful news, this is what they had to say!

First of all, well done to the whole team - we are so proud of you! What message would you like to share with everyone who has supported the campaign along the way?

Jelilat: We would like to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of this crowdfunding campaign. This will be put to good use and it is going to touch people’s lives in a positive way. It will bring about wonderful and sustainable changes in the women’s lives, and also in their communities.

Eric:
The big word here would definitely be ‘thank you’ on behalf of the women in Kaduna State. We believe the extended community also benefits from the programme, so you can be rest assured that the money, time, and resources donated will never be in vain.

Joy: We really want to thank the many people who have supported this campaign. We want to say that Kaduna, Nigeria is very grateful. The money contributed will touch not only the lives of people in Kaduna, but also other states. If you change the life of one woman, it can help change the lives of more women in her community. Thank you - there are so many good things to come.

As the campaign comes to a close, can you share a few of the programme’s successes?

Joy: The biggest success of the programme is teaching the women skills that they have taken the time to learn. For example, in one of the sessions the women were shown how to start a poultry farming business. Because of the advice provided, two women from two different communities were able to create a poultry farming business. So for me, the biggest success has been imparting skills to women who want to start their own business with what they have learned.

Eric: There is a line that divides the north from the south, the Muslims from the Christians. But as a result of the programme, and the relationship between communities, the women even communicate outside the programme. They broke a barrier that was there and they interact freely now.

Jelilat: A lot of the women did not believe they had the right to walk up to a community head to voice their issues. But now these women have easy access to stakeholders and traditional leaders in their communities.

Have there been any challenges along the way?

Eric: Since it is an issue of empowerment, there is a mindset that the women are going to receive a huge sum of money. So changing their minds to help them understand that Generations For Peace is not an organisation that gives money was a serious challenge - it takes time. Before each session started, we reminded them that this is not about getting money, but rather building their capacity so they can access funds.

Joy: We always had a consistent number of women, but sometimes the women would change in the middle of the programme and they would send a relative to the next meeting. Also, some of the women moved, and as a result, someone else would replace them. We tried to help the participants understand that we would not be able to effectively monitor the programme if different women continued to represent their communities each time.

What have you learned as a result of the programme?

Joy: I was able to work with these women, gain access to their communities, interact with them, and meet their community heads. There is a bond between us. We know the issues they are facing and we can visit the communities to really understand what is happening there. We are even able to do additional programmes outside the Generations For Peace programme that tackle issues such as gender-based violence. This is because of the relationship we built with these women. It has been a platform that empowered me and really made me feel like I have done something in my field of work.

Jelilat: I had never really worked with women before, so this programme helped me because I worked with women from diverse cultures and religions. Also, as a younger woman, it helped me learn how to relate to women who are older than me and women who come from different backgrounds. That was the biggest lesson I learned from the programme.

So, what is next?

Eric: As a result of our last participatory evaluation, the women have asked for the expansion and replication of the programme, so bringing in new communities is next! The women who were involved in the recent programme will be running community initiatives in their respective communities for future programming.

There are so many people who want to volunteer, but are not sure where to start. Do you have any words of encouragement for them?

Jelilat: I would say take little baby steps. You have to walk before you can run. For now, forget the big picture – do not be scared. With time, even those little baby steps will go a long way towards creating a significant change!

Joy: You can do it, just take the first step. Do not doubt yourself – you have potential. Try to push forward and do it!

Eric: No matter how small it seems, one effort can go a long way in changing your neighbour’s life. Just do the thing that you know how to do - the thing you feel you have inside. Is it that you can talk to someone or support them? Do something, just do something. It goes a long way towards changing the world!

A few final words from Comfort (programme participant) and Idris (community leader)!

Comfort: As a northern woman, I grew up believing that women have no place or say when it comes to community decision making. However, that notion has changed since my involvement in the programme. We (Unguwan Romi women) carried out an advocacy event to engage the traditional leaders and stakeholders in our community, and to discuss issues that affect women and youth in the community. This event helped build my self-confidence, and it also provided me with the skills needed to be involved in community decision making!

Idris: One woman (among three women) who participated in the programme was made part of a committee that was set up to distribute fertilizer in my community. I was amazed at how smoothly the process ran and how inclusive it was. I believe it was a result of the only woman in the committee. I now know we need more women!

Although the campaign is over, you can still stay up-to-date by subscribing to our newsletter, and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Links below.

Let’s continue to empower each other to create a global community of change-makers across the world!

Once again, thank you so much from all of us here at Generations For Peace!

Empowering Women for Peace in Nigeria
Empowering Women for Peace in Nigeria

Links:

Mar 8, 2016

Update #7: A story of change

Every day we are getting closer to our goal of $7,000. With your continued support we have raised $6,393 so far - that equals 91% of the total. We are incredibly grateful for every donation we receive. Thank you so much from all of us here at Generations For Peace!

Today we share a story of change, told by a husband of one of the women taking part in the Empowerment For Peace programme:

I never used to believe that a woman should be allowed to go out of the house: what would they do outside the house? Their place is at home, taking care of the children and house - they have no business being outside. No other woman does it, so mine shouldn’t either. And, I don’t have to let my wife go out - she doesn’t contribute economically, so what would she do out with other women? She can go out to buy food when I give her my money, but otherwise there’s no need for her to do anything outside. I didn’t see the problem with that – after all, our neighbours were doing the same with their wives.

One day, my wife told me that she had heard of Generations For Peace, a local organisation that was inviting women to take part in different activities. The activities were happening close to our house, and she said she would like to go there with other women from the neighbourhood, to see what those activities were about. I was surprised; she never had an idea like this before. She wanted to learn something, she said. What would she learn? What for? I wasn’t comfortable with the idea at all, but she insisted for quite a while that in the end I had to say yes.

She came back from that visit and told me that there were 10 volunteers teaching more than 30 women from different neighbourhoods some peace skills, and other skills like making soap, making jewellery, or how to do catering. “What for?” I asked. What would she do with a soap or a necklace and who would buy it from her? And what can she do about peace – we already have enough problems with other religions and we don’t need women starting to talk of peace. Since when is it a woman’s job to get involved in the community and to speak with others?

For several days, she just spoke of what she saw at Generations For Peace and how she wanted to go there again. We had several fights. Still, she didn’t want to give up. So in the end, I said yes, just to see what she would come back home with. I thought she’ll go there one or two times, and then that would be enough – she’ll be back home, doing what she always did since we got married.

But she kept going. Not for one, but for seven, eight sessions. As for the house - everything was done as it should be; she kept everything in order, but she would still find time to go to that programme because she liked it. I thought, it’s fine for a while, but I’ll have to put a stop to it. Not all of the women from the neighbourhood were doing it, and I didn’t want her to think she can do what she wants. Or anybody else to think that. That my wife can do what she wants.

Then one day, I had to leave the house to go to a market on another side of town. I had to buy something urgently but I had no money. I was wondering if there were any other men in the neighbourhood who would lend me money for the bus fare and for things I needed to buy. It’s not an easy thing to ask for when everyone is barely making ends meet. Seeing me worried, my wife asked me what was wrong, so I explained. She turned, and then brought me the money I needed. I asked her where she got the money from. “I made some money out of the perfume I produced,” she said. “Perfume? Which perfume?” “I learnt how to produce and sell perfume. I learnt that at the Generations For Peace programme,” she said. “I’ve also learnt a lot about peace, and now I’m learning some other new skills,” she replied calmly. I didn’t say too much. I just took the money and went to the market.

Upon return from the market, she had already gone to another Generations For Peace session. I was looking at the produce I bought at the market, with her money, for the first time in our lives. I sat quietly at home, thinking how it could be good if Generations For Peace had a programme for our two daughters, then they would also be able to learn new skills, to make their lives better. Much better than their parents. I should do something about it, I thought. I should speak with my wife about it, when she returns home.

Dec 24, 2015

Update #6: Nigeria Volunteers Attend Advanced Training in Jordan

Advanced Training
Advanced Training

Thank you for supporting our local volunteers in Nigeria who are working to build peace in their communities through women's empowerment initaitives.

71 generous donors, including you, have chipped in so far to raise $5751, or 82% of our total. That means that if each one of you were to give just $18 more, we would meet our $7000 goal and the project would be fully funded!

Here's the latest update on what our volunteers have been up to:

Recently, five of Generations For Peace's most experienced Nigerian volunteers travelled to Amman, Jordan, (our global HQ), along with 34 other volunteers from 9 other countries, for an advanced training in designing and facilitating effective peacebuilding programmes.

One of our volunteers, Abdiel Kude, helped facilitate the training to share his knowledge with others implementing work in their own communities around the world. He noted: "This is an opportunity to interact with people with different skills and knowledge, enabling us all to develop a stronger global perspective on peacebuilding. I view Advanced Training 2015 as a chance to share my own experiences, connect with other volunteers, and to strengthen all of our efforts under one roof." 

Our Nigerian volunteers shared more about why each of them devotes their time to Generations For Peace (GFP) programmes:

"I have witnessed the religious conflicts in Kaduna State, and do not want to lose any more loved ones. I love Kaduna. This is why I became a volunteer with GFP - to develop my capacity as a peace builder, and spread the good news of peace in Kaduna State and Nigeria at large." - Ohis Amu

"As a child, I experienced serious conflicts which led to the loss of many lives, and made people feel incomplete. I have always hoped for a way to change things. I volunteer with GFP because with their programmes, I can work torwads my dream of a violence-free society in Kaduna State." - Jelilat Abidoye

"Volunteering for GFP has given me the opportunity to touch the lives of women and young girls, by helping them recognise their capabilities and become leaders. My capacity, skills, and knowledge have grown, enabling me to build peace in my community." - Joy Anthony

"Ever since I was young I have wanted to contribute to positive changes in the lives of others. I began as a youth activist in secondary school. I volunteer with GFP beacuse it improves my capacity to carry out advocacy and build peace." - Idris Inuwa

Thank you for your support of Abdiel, Ohis, Jelilat, Joy, Idris, and other Generations For Peace volunteers who are working to transform conflicts and reduce violence in Nigeria. Your donation to fund a project in their community means that the skills they learn at the Advanced Training will be able to be put to maximum use as they return home and continue to work for peace.

 From all of us at GFP around the world, we wish you a peaceful New Year!

Abdiel
Abdiel
Ohis
Ohis
Jelilat
Jelilat
Joy
Joy
Idris
Idris

Links:

 
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