Oct 20, 2015

Update #5: Empowering Women for Peace

A special message from Safiya Ibn Garba, Generations For Peace International Programmes Manager (and former volunteer from Nigeria):

"To all our donors and supporters, thank you. Thank you for showing you care and supporting the efforts to strengthen our capacity in building peaceful communities in Nigeria. Your generous support will enable us do more and the more we can do, the better chance we have for future generations to live and thrive in more peaceful societies. As we continue this journey, we look forward to your continuous support; because of you; we can be and we will be.”

Thanks to your support, the Generations For Peace Women's Empowerment for Peace Programme in Kaduna, Nigeria has completed 12 sessions with 30 women. Sessions have included different kinds of skills training and advocacy as well as town hall meetings with community leaders. Participants are now using the vocational skills learned in their training sessions, which promotes alternative incomes that can reduce the economic pressures that may result in communities resorting to violence.

As a sign of increased local empowerment, female volunteers and participants are now invited to air their views on community decisions with community leaders. The programme has also led to a Sports For Peace programme in the same communities, which has facilitated access to other target groups within the selected communities, enabling strong peace building movements to emerge across a wide section of the community. 

Thank you again for your support, and stay tuned for more updates soon!

Jul 21, 2015

Update #4: Edward's visit to Nigeria

Edward in his new outfit
Edward in his new outfit

Thank you again for your support to Generations For Peace volunteers in Nigeria! We have raised over $3000, with another big pledge on the way, bringing our total to almost 60% of our goal!

Below is an update from our research coordinator, Edward, on his recent trip to Nigeria to help evaluate the impact of our work:

In a Participatory Evaluation, everyone has a say and everyone’s opinion matters. This method gives voice to those who were involved with the programme itself – specifically, the Target Group, Beneficiary Community, Volunteers and Stakeholders. GFP is first and foremost a volunteer-led organisation, therefore the PE method was chosen because it matches this mandate by handing over control to the volunteers themselves.

The evaluations I went to observe were held early due to fears of potential violence surrounding the Presidential elections that were scheduled for the end of March. So, earlier that month I landed in the capital, Abuja, and then travelled by road north to Kaduna, a medium-sized city and the capital of the state that shares its name.

Programmes in Nigeria started in 2008 and are among the most established for GFP. In 2014, GFP volunteers ran four Sport For Peace Programmes in four different girls schools in Kaduna. In a nutshell, sport-based activities coupled with peace-building education aimed to increase girls’ confidence and improve their communication and leadership skills. More broadly, the programmes aimed to challenge gender norms that prevent girls from reaching their full potential and being able to participate in decision making in their communities later on in their life. Therefore, the four Kaduna Sport For Peace programmes touched upon three conflict dimensions: personal, relational and cultural.

PEs bring together all of the different groups involved in the programme so that they can collectively assess what benefits it has created for the community. On the evaluation day itself we all gathered in a large hall in central Kaduna. In an unsuccessful attempt not to be noticed, I sat myself in a corner, equipped with a notepad and pen, and watched the process unfold. I was amazed to see so many different members of the community – our volunteers, programme participants, teachers, parents and community leaders – gathered together in the same place to talk about issues that matter in their community.

As I witnessed, PEs are important because they increase accountability and give control of the evaluation process to those who were directly involved with the programme, which makes sense as it is they who implemented, experienced and will hopefully have gained from it. In Kaduna I observed people, who may not otherwise have spoken, working together, united by a desire to help bring about change in their communities. The PE day provided an opportunity for fruitful discussion, relationship building and the sharing of ideas, insights, and hopes – as well as a little impromptu dancing to unwind after hours of discussion.

However, the PE process is not without its problems. A demanding procedure, it places strain on our volunteers. I saw for myself the amount of work involved in organising the event: making sure everyone who needs to can attend, ensuring that they have transport, getting the venue ready, making sure they have all the needed materials, that the refreshments arrive on time – the list goes on. On top of this, the process needs to remain actively participatory; our volunteers have to ensure that everyone involved is making a contribution and that their voice is being heard. These observations, and many others taken from the field, will be used to improve the GFP PE process so that it is easier to follow and produces the most useful results – for the volunteers and for their community. Collectively, my observations, along with ongoing research being carried out by GFP, should result in a report that informs this process for the next round of GFP PEs.

My time in Nigeria was not solely devoted to PE, however. When I was not observing the process and talking to our volunteers about it, the trip also allowed me to sample some Nigerian culture.

As Africa’s most populous country (one in four Africans are Nigerian), Nigeria is a patchwork of different ethnic and religious groups – and this variety is demonstrated in the backgrounds of our volunteers! Some of my experiences included the consumption of the fabled pounded yam (self-descriptive, usually eaten with meat or soup), which came highly recommended from colleagues at HQ, alongside a few other tasty items, including suya (spiced, skewed meat) and jollof (an orange-coloured rice dish with stewed tomatoes and chicken). The numerous car journeys I took during my visit provided ample time for me to be introduced to Nigerian music, including the catchy rhythms of Fela Kuti and Sunny King Ade. The highlight, however, was a surprise visit to the tailor to have my very own gbariye (shirt) and sokoto (trousers) fitted, in a style worn by the Yoruba. Safe to say, I returned to Jordan a more stylish man.

For my new outfit, for all of these experiences and for all that I learned I would like to thank our volunteers in Nigeria!

Participants in GFP Empowerment for Peace program
Participants in GFP Empowerment for Peace program

Links:

Jun 24, 2015

Update #3: Meet Abdiel, Generations For Peace Volunteer

Abdiel, Generations For Peace Nigeria
Abdiel, Generations For Peace Nigeria

Meet Abdiel Kude, a Generations For Peace volunteer in Kaduna, Nigeria. (Click here to meet Joy, who shared her experience with us in the last update).  

Thanks to your support, we have reached over 30% of our funding goal. We still hope to raise $7000 to cover the full cost of this program by the end of June. Please continue to share our campaign with your friends, family, and social media networks and help us meet our target!

Read on to learn more about what inspires Abdiel to volunteer with women in his community to build peace, and how your donation will help support this initiative.

Abdiel Kude felt the consequences of ethnic violence on his own family in 1992, when the clashes between the Atyap and Hausa tribes spilled over to other cities in Kaduna and Kano States. The crises led to the loss of thousands of lives, destroyed property worth millions, and caused a lot of trauma for many families - including Abdiel’s. This experience led Abdiel to change his career path and dedicate himself to community work.

While Abdiel had volunteered with a number of other community organizations, his involvement with Generations For Peace began through a training organized by another GFP-trained volunteer in 2012. Shortly after, he set up a series of programs for teachers and youth from different ethnic and religious communities, adressing the issues of youth violence and gender inequality.

Being a multi-ethnic country, Nigerian volunteers are targeting a diverse range of groups divided along religious, ethnic and gender lines. By engaging these groups, Abdiel’s aim was to improve their relationships and establish communication channels that would challenge the deeply held prejudices within their communities. He has worked with hundreds of youth, students, and teachers, and is now devoted to the Women's Empowerment for Peace program. 

Q: Abdiel, what drives you to do the work that you do?

From a much younger age, I knew that I would not be doing a regular job like some choose to do. I did not want to work for the government or a corporate establishment. I felt compelled by my family to take up a government job at one point in my life, but I only did that for six months before I resigned. My terrain is the community, with the people. The size of the group does not affect the work; however most times I say smaller is better. I seek to drive change at the community level. It has not been easy, especially as different people have varied views of what change means, so coordinating these differences and achieving one direction is critical.

Q: What are some of the issues women face in Nigeria?

Some societal issues women face in Nigeria relate to low self-perception (a large number of women do not see themselves as pro-anything), low self esteem, relegation by men in the community and society at large, imbalance in education (when families support a higher level of education for male offspring as opposed to female family members), early marriage, teenage pregnancy, poor livelihood skills, and religious and cultural beliefs that further disempower women. All of the issues mentioned are informally, but powerfully, sustained by folklore, cultural, and religious norms and values.

Q: What role should men play in supporting women in leadership and decision-making positions?

I think the best role men can play in supporting women in leadership and decision-making positions is an affirmative one. Men should affirm competent and capable women, seeing that incompetence is not a virtue. The development of skilled women with the potential to take up leadership and decision-making roles will be a huge investment, with even greater returns.

Q: You are currently conducting a women’s Empowerment for Peace Programme with your fellow volunteers: why now and why this programme?

This programme aims to build women’s individual livelihood skills that will, in turn, increase their capacity to break free from the poverty cycle. It also focuses on developing decision-making skills that will enable them to integrate into community life and their society at large.

Q: What are your hopes for the programme?

My hopes for the programme are that it should succeed for the women participating in it, and that their livelihood skills are built to a point that they are self-reliant. Also, that they will find their place, enabling them to properly integrate into their community life by getting involved in decision-making processes. Finally, I hope they become role models that other women aspire to be like. Nothing is more powerful in a community than a successful role model. Once the results are visible to the community, the rate of acceptance and adoption of the values and practices displayed by the individual modelling those values is much higher, and the impact more sustainable.

Q: Why Generations For Peace?

I volunteer with GFP because they have helped me put a lot of life issues in focus. I have volunteered with many other organisations previously, and I still do, but GFP has helped me move away from stereotype thinking. Working with GFP has also helped me develop a more grounded and positive approach to life, including maintaining good relationships. GFP has a well-tested behavioural change programme approach that is targeted at small groups and at the community level – right where change happens. And they keep improving on it. Furthermore, it is always good to work with an organisation that holds high standards as GFP does. The way I see it, GFP volunteers, like myself, simply need to key into the GFP approach and hang in there!

Please, help Abdiel and Generations For Peace meet our fundraising goal to empower women for peace in Nigeria!

Share his story with others, and help promote our campaign here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/womens-empowerment-for-peace-nigeria-i-want-to-be/share/

Empowering Women For Peace, Nigeria
Empowering Women For Peace, Nigeria

Links:

 
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