Woman - Trading for Peace

Although the world’s gaze appears to have moved on from the post-election violence in North Nigeria,  this topic stills dominates the weekly UK-Nigeria online meeting.

John Dada and his team at Fantsuam continue to deal with the aftermath of the turmoil.

They reported that:

  • The student numbers are still down and that classes are being combined
  • Two instructors have had their houses and their belongings burnt
  • Students (particularly those who are Muslim) are scared to attend classes

John, one of the trainers commented that : “ I think it's a case of no victor we are all losers because every body is affected and so many persons are still displaced. Politics was just used as an excused to vent anger because most of this people affected are not politicians some didn't vote”

Commonsense dictates that before the next election (and sadly the inevitable increase in tension) there is a need for a peace and reconciliation initiative. John Dada reiterated this and told us that:

“there has been a loss of trust and that is what we need to work on...It is the breakdown of trust that makes it difficult for microfinance staff to go into the Muslim communities.
I don’t think there is hate between the religions - I know of cases on both sides who protected their neighbours from the violent minority. The violent minority are very vocal and cow the rest of the population this violent minority use religion as a cover to make political gains. What I am hoping we can do is look for these silent courageous folks who risked their lives to protect their neighbours and work with them to expand and reward such bravery.”
As John says:

“Most folks just want to be left alone to continue their life's struggles”

He added that: “The new market site is a location where more and more people of both faiths are meeting and re-establishing social and business contacts but start-up capital is in high shortage. We have hard working and committed traders who would like to restart their businesses, but we do not have the funds to help them get started”

John shared his vision that he would like to empower women traders from across the divide who show their support for building an inclusive community by giving them each £200.
£40 of which would be a gift to help meet immediate family needs: food, clothes, medicines, shelter etc and would be “ an assurance of care and an appreciation of the trauma and burden the recipient has suffered".

I understans the remaining £160 will be a microfinance loan that is invested and repaid.
Dadamac responded to this initiative of John's by pledging to support the first three woman market traders. ( Should you or your company like to follow suit you can donate here.) The ongoing stories of the traders and of the Kafanchan peace market will continue to be reported on dadamac.net.

The ‘quote of the week’ comes from another John, a FF, trainer who summed up the situation with the following words: “There is need to build trust and confidence amongst youths above that there is need for youths from both side to respect and love one another”.

Also John Dada asks: Do we have any resources on:

  • Development of early warning mechanisms and post-conflict reconstruction mechanisms.
  • Building partnerships for information sharing, advocacy and campaigning on conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
  • Education and awareness raising on the role of women in peace-building and conflict resolution.

Kindly email nicola.fishman@dadamac.net if you can help with this please.