EU Supports Women Associations in Borno
M.A Ibrahim – Maiduguri
The European Union through the British council organized a design workshop to support 10 women associations through Kalthum Foundation for Peace (KFP) in the Managing Conflict in the Northeast (MCN) project. The theme of the workshop was “Supporting women’s engagement in peace building and security alternatives to violence in Borno.” The program is said to address issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and managing conflict through non-violent means.
In his presentation, the Technical Team Lead British Council Dr. Okowa explained that societies where women and girls are marginalized tend to be societies that experience violent conflicts. He also said that their delivery mechanisms includes prompt technical assistance, financial assistance, knowledge and information dissemination, small grants to women and promoting different partnership. Dr. Okowa also pointed out that Conflict sensitivity is all about acting in ways to avoid negative impact as well as maximizing positive impact.
Another presenter at the workshop Dr. Abubakar Sani, the Executive Director of Kalthum Foundation for Peace in explaining the project mission and objective said the project is to develop these women associations into active peace ambassadors, making them to understand the message of peaceful co-existence, forgiveness and reconciliation. Mr. Sani also said after the project is completed, these ten women associations will form a unified force that is a confederation that will speak with one and strong voice.
Participant were also taught on strategies of monitoring progress, means of generating data, monitoring instruments among others.
The Borno State Team Lead of British Council Managing Conflict in the Northeast, Hajiya Zara Goni said “as part of the European Union British Council Managing Conflict in the Northeast, we are supporting technically and financially indigenous NGOs. With the help of Kalthum Foundation for Peace, we are supporting in one of our result areas to strengthen women associations to be able to respond to the needs of the state. One of these areas is to strengthen women association to bring peace in our society.”
While addressing the press, the M&E Officer of British Council Mr. Nuhu who stated that “the EU Managing Conflict in the Northeast program which is being implemented by British Council is a program that is designed to support partners and other organizations in the community to address issues of SGBV that is fast becoming alarming”
Part of our initiative is to setup a Sexual Assault Referral Centre popularly called the N3lewa Centre. This facility is part of our intervention area that we have facilitated to see how victims and survivors of SGBV to be referred and to receive immediate medical and psycho-social services free for all of Borno residents.
He also explained that part of their strategy is to see that these issues receive adequate attention through this project that they are supporting Kalthum Foundation for Peace. Mr. Nuhu also noted that the European Union/British council is working on several interventions with several result areas, some of which are early warning platforms called Community Peace, training of over 600 traditional rulers on alternative dispute resolutions to address issues within the community among others.
While Addressing the long term goal of the program, Mr. Nuhu said “our expectation is that some of the women organization we are partnering here will champion the cause of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Advocate for state actors and other conflict management architecture to respond and resolve issues of SGBV. And they will be able to advocate for government to come up with measure and policies that will completely discourage or reduce this menace that is happening in our community.”
Mohammed Bulama the Deputy Executive Director of Kalthum Foundation for Peace (KFP) and the Programme Officer European Union British Council Managing Conflict in the Northeast (MCN) project said the program “is an intervention funded by European Union which is meant to boost the capacity of women associations engaged in peace building in Borno state to do more in managing conflict through non-violent means. The program will be supporting women to also respond to issues of Gender Based Violence (GBV) through referrals and providing livelihood support to groups at risk, to women and girls who don’t have anything doing, because it is assumed that without means of livelihood it predisposes them to SGBV, sexual exploitation and abuse.
One of the participant at the event Hajiya Aisha Mohammed Aisami who is the president of Da’awah Wal Irshad Women Organization thanked God for making it possible for her to attend the workshop, Hajiya Aisha said “the workshop created more awareness on knowing what to do in this insurgency we have found ourselves in, it is observed that people no longer trust each other. This workshop has enlightened us on how to build trust among people in the community. It will enable us embark on conflict resolution between conflicting parties as we will bridge the gap and create peace in the society as it used to be with the help of Kalthum Foundation for Peace and British Council, by the grace of God we will achieve this objective.”