Women key to conflict resolution, management, peace building – ActionAid

As conflicts continue to rage in parts of Kaduna state, ActionAid Nigeria has said that women can be instrumental in preventing violent extremism, conflict resolution, management and peace building in Nigeria, despite being victims themselves.

Addressing a Women Conference of the “System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE) III project in Kaduna on Tuesday, Country Director of ActionAid, Mrs Ene Obi, said by including them in decision making and peace building processes women can be pivotal in resolving crisis and ensuring peace in the society.

The conference was organised by ActionAid in partnership with Global Peace Development (GPD) in Kaduna state, and with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).

The SARVE III Project is intended to reach 4,000 women through capacity building, sensitisation programmes and socio-economic empowerment.

Ene, who was represented by the Resilience Programme Coordinator ActionAid, Anicetus Atakpu, said there was need to highlight the importance of women participation and the inclusion of a gender perspective in peace negotiations, humanitarian planning, peacekeeping operations, post-conflict, and governance.

“Despite being victims of conflicts, ActionAid Nigeria believes that women can be instrumental to conflict resolution, management, and peacebuilding. For the past 22 years, we have placed women and girls at the centre of our work by encouraging and ensuring their inclusion in decision making and peace building processes, specifically those that affect them while, also building their capacity in locating their voices and demanding for their rights.

“ActionAid Nigeria believes that one of the ways to end conflict is by promoting peaceful coexistence and encouraging leaders, especially women leaders in their various communities to drive the process. Although women need to be protected from violence, they should not be seen as victims who are weak and helpless in conflict situations, but as change agents of peace,” she said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director Global Peace for Development, Ebruke Esike, said women need to have a voice and their voice needs to be heard.

According to Esike, “Women should have education to determine what they want and what they need. Women should not be exposed to gender based violence. We want to promote gender equality, quality education for women.

“The project is part of bringing women from 12 communities from six local governments in Kaduna state; Wusasa, Gwargwaje, Kudan, Likoro, Damishi, Kujama, Nariya Kudenda, Turunku, Gumel, Kachia, Takau and Ungwan Masara to actualise and implement laws passed in the state. We are mobilising, engaging women so that they would be able to engage young women.”