Non - Violent Communication strategy for conflict resolution

Following the post election violence In April a medium sized NGO in Kafanchan (where it was considered to be safer in Jos) has been trying to address the sectarian problems.

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The background and current situation

On April 18th 2011, post-election violence broke out in five of the communities where the NGO, Fantsuam Foundation operates, resulting in large scale loss of lives, livelihoods and properties. Fantsuam Foundation has significant microfinance activities and provided shelter, food and clothes for over 200 people on the first day of the violence. Women and children form the bulk of people displaced and traumatised by this event.

Truth and Reconciliation Movement for the Plateau

Below is John Dada's response to the informative, inspirational (and brave) article written by Prince Charles Dickson for Sahara Reporters - which can be viewed here .

"Dear Charles,

I read a lot of hope in your article, and you have also identified someone of like mind: Aliyu Tilde. It will only take a few folks to start a reversal of this season of madness in Plateau. Truth and Reconciliation is what the majority are yearning for, but a vocal minority is drowning their voices. If those we call leaders have let us down, let us rise to the ocassion and help ourselves. Let us reach out across the "vs" and let our humanity save us from this no-win situation.

I suggest that you and Tilde start reaching out to the few and courageous others who agree to promote peace again on the Plateau. The problems are not intractable, we will not sweep things under the carpet, but we shall go into this with a vision of a Plateau that allows everyone to live in harmony, and achieve their potential. A Plateau that has found that the indigene-settler dichotomy is not what is needed for development in this space age, and is willing to leave this brutal past behind. Let us start a Truth and Reconciliation Movement for the Plateau".

John Dada PhD, MPH, RN, DipHE
Executive Director
Fantsuam Foundation
Kafanchan, Nigeria

Feedback from rural Nigeria

Oritamefa Baptist Model School, Ibadan is one of the biggest school in Ibadan metropolis. Fola (who has only had his laptop for two weeks) visited the school to help  teachers with the configuring of their system
He was also the first to let us know about the flooding in Oyo State and sent us some photos.
Dadamac has helped Fola obtain his laptop with the help of an loan through Fantsuam Foundation's microfinance bank. Once the interest free loan has been repaid by Fola the intention is that the money will be lent out again.
During our weekly UK-Nigeria meeting Comfort gave us an update about Fantsuam Foundation's successful microfinance programe.

Inspirational meeting

This week’s online meeting between the UK and Fantsuam in rural Nigeria was as dynamic and wide ranging as ever.

We discussed practical ways of helping Fola, a trusted individual in the Dadamac network who hopes to get his community at Ago-Are online. Last week we told how within a week we had devised a way to help him achieve his vision -  not only had he received his money but he had brought his laptop and had already sent us photos.

It was agreed during the meeting that John Dada would arranged to advance Fola additional funds, via Fantsuam Foundation’s microfinance bank.The extra money is to enable him to buy an inverter. The tariff that Fola is on means that he can now go online between 9pm and 6am and he is responsible for this new Dadamac outpost at Ago-Are.
As John quipped:  “Talk about North/South linkage, Dadamac is it!

John told us that during the week he had had a visit from the American Embassy’s new officer in charge of Human Rights from the American Embassy to follow up on FF's efforts following the post-election violence. It is hoped that the Embassy will help Fantsuam’s Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Team to actualise it's medium and long term goals of rehabilitation and reintegration of the various communities - with a major emphasis on services for women and children in post-conflict situations.

Fantsum reaching out

As usual, this week’s UK-Nigeria online meeting proved a real gem.

Feedback from John suggests the community is becoming used to the new realities of slow business output in the wake of the post-election conflict.

He reports that the Kafanchan Peace Market traders are gradually getting their businesses going again, with some of venturing into new businesses areas.
Twelve of the 27 traders are Muslims and these women have negotiated with Fantsuam Foundation to defer their loans until after Ramadan.

In recent blogs I have documented the loss of experienced staff from Fantsuam, mostly as a direct consequence of the recent troubles. However, a related ongoing problem which afflicts FF was explained by John. Once again he has lost another valuable member of his staff who has been offered five times the salary that FF can afford. This is a recurring problem for John. He trains people who have minimal skills but, by the time they have served their unofficial apprenticeship at Fantsuam, they have gained valuable experience and are poached by bigger organisations
This is because FF offers a fasttrack training and unique hands-on approach to integrated development. John reflected: “The way we are starting to look at this is that taking youths from Ground Zero to become employable by bigger organisations may be one of our callings - but it costs us so much."

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