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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.

With the trust of large sections of both communities it has been practically offering positive interventions such as the Kafanchan peace market and the Feeding programme for the Muslim Street children. However it  is already overstretched and despite its proven track record it has applied for various aid and submitted proposals with out much joy.

Here is one of the interventions that they were asking people to support in November 2011.

 John Dada, CEO of Fantsuam Foundation, has sent Dadamac his concept note and suggestions for a Non - Violent Communication strategy for this conflict resolution.

The mob-inspired violence took most Kafanchan residents unaware, and some of the people killed were innocent folks who were attacked by rampaging youths. The violence was at its peak at just the time children were closing from school. A 24 hour curfew was imposed from 6pm from Wednesday 09th November.

By 11.00pm on 09th November, the Fantsuam clinic had treated and discharged 5 gun shot victims and we had secured safe passage for all our staff, both Christians and Muslims and the clinic remained opened 24hours for free treatment to all comers.

Kafanchan's economic recovery has been dealt a further setback. From Wednesday, 16th November, the curfew was relaxed to 12 hours. Food is in short supply, the banks have remain closed, so economic activities in Kafanchan is at all time low.

The post-election crisis in Kafanchan which broke out in April 2011 occurred just as farmers were beginning land preparations, mobilizing inputs and planting their crops.

USAID's Famine Early Warning Systems Network. FEWS NET. NIGERIA  described the situation "As the insecurity escalates many households within the affected areas have abandoned their farms, could not cultivate, and will be atypically market dependent between October and December, making food access more difficult than usual. Traders continue to avoid these insecure areas for fear of reprisal attacks and markets have been disrupted, further hampering food inflow"

The bulk of Kafanchan subsitsent farmers just want to continue their lives if only an enabling environment will be fostered. The latest violence has only made the possibility of famine in Kafanchan in the next few months, a reality.

Quick-Win Intervention
This is a proposal for a holistic, multi-stakeholder pilot in peace building, which can be presented to the Kaduna State Government for replication and institutionalization. Government-led efforts so far, has been top-down and civil-service led.

Critical Roles for Women and The Elderly
Two critical peace-builders whose roles have gone largely unrecognized are women and the elderly. The two groups also bear the brunt of the consequences of the violence unleashed on all sections of the society.

Rather than concentrating peace–making efforts at the Local Government level, a devolving of ward-level Elders and Women’s Peace Teams will be more effective. For our patriarchal cultures, this may look like an innovation, but in reality, it is a recognition of the critical roles that these two groups have played to keep our communities together in spite of the recurring cycles of violence.

High unemployment and poverty among teeming population of youths makes them ready recruits for the sectarian violence. A pilot program that engages these youths in the reconstruction of some the destroyed markets/ shops/ public facilities will absorb some of the pent-up anger and frustration. This opportunity for employment should be done within a broad peace-building framework in which the youths are required to engage in training for Non-Violent Communication for Conflict Resolution. This direct-labour program, will provide income for the youths and will be different from the usual approach of awarding the reconstruction to contractors. Embedded within the pilot will also be skills and civic responsibility training within a framework of Peace-Building.

Project Coordination:
In recognition of the critical roles of faith-based organizations in our communities, this pilot can be anchored by two faith-based organizations. For example, the Catholic diocese can work closely with the Jema’a Jama’atu Nasril Islam and Kafanchan-based civil society organization like the Fantsuam Foundation to implement this pilot program.

To initiate a holistic and sustainable peace building program for Kafanchan

Output/ Deliverables
1. A Community-based peace building strategy is developed with input from all stakeholders
2. All Kafanchan communities and their concerns are given recognition
3. Key public structures are reconstructed by teams composed from all factions
4. Five civil society organizations are provided ToT capacity building in Non Violent
Conflict Management and they are required to step down these skills to all the youths identified to patticipate in the program

1. Community-based peace building strategy is established
2. Flashpoints of communal disharmony are quickly identified and addressed
3. Traditional roles and respect due to Women and the Elderly is duly established and sustained
4. Kaduna State Government gives recognition to community-led peace building initiatives

Key Activities
1. Identification of a few high profile public utilities that can be reconstructed.
2. Nomination of youths across the sectarian divide to participate in the reconstruction of these facilities
3. Establishment of Women and Elders Forum at Ward level, and their regular parley with traditional rulers and Local Government officials
4. Establishment of technical team to supervise the construction activities
5. Embedded within the reconstruction activities will be capacity building of all participating youths in daily capacity building sessions on Non Violent Communication.
Each youth will be required to be a peer educator for at least 5 other youths in the NVC techniques of conflict resolution
6. Monitoring and evaluation of all activities and monthly activities report submitted to the Women and Elders Forum and the project coordinating team of the Catholic Diocese and JNI.

The photo shows a young teacher, Ajala Michael, who was a victim of April's violence and who as a result has a bullet lodged in his eye. Ajala's story.

You can contribute through Dadamac Foundation to the work John is leading in and around Kafanchan   - Donate here - Please share this post with others.

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