2020 Voices of Peace

Posted July 18, 2020 from Nigeria

We initially submitted a video before we emerged as one of the finalist to present at the side event. Attached is the The video could not attach because it is on Wetransfer. Will post it in YouTube and send the link later.

Below is the excerpts of my presentation at the High Level Political Forum(HLPF) Virtual Side Event of Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding & State building on 15th July 2020

SDG16+ is Peacebuilding and Strong Institution.  Peacebuilding is a process and it involves stage by stage process from conflict, fact finding, analysis, mediation, negotiation and peace building. I have gone through so many peace building trainings by donors and coalitions (Partners for Peace(P4P) Network in the Niger Delta – one of the largest Peace building Network in Africa, West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Women, Peace & Security Network (WPSN), Civil Society Advanced Forum on SDG(CAS2030), Civil Society Coalition on SDG (CSCSD) and others too numerous to mention) that has equipped us to carry out our work in health – ensuring healthy living for community people through education and outreach programmes, primary health care centre linkages and referrals and home-based care for psycho-social cares for molested children and PLWHIV; Environment – harmonization of health and environment through conservation of forests, environmental sanitation & cleanliness to mitigate air, land and sea pollution as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation to protect the environment and food sustainability as well as gender. Gender based violence is escalating every day in and around us – children molestation, domestic violence,  community armed conflict, women inclusion and so many others under gender Peace building interventions in interpersonal and community conflicts. These trainings prepared us to face the work we have been doing since our inception.  

Challenges:  Funding, unemployment, insincerity of purpose from government; triggers of fake promises from politicians, power tussles among cult groups; identity issues.

Funding: resource mobilization from donors has not been easy to come by. Unemployment has continuously been a major issue why these youths continuously get involved in crimes and violent conflict. Some platforms have been created to teach them skills but start-ups have not been easy for lack of fund.  Most of these youths do not know their identity and where they stand. They grew up in lacks because of decisions made by their fathers in the past and government and International Oil Corporations promises that never came to be. Based on that confusion of seeking to know their identity and how to remedy all the deprivations and continuous degradations of their environment which continues to push them into penury, brink of life and violence against themselves through cartels and cult groups formed by politicians and fed by them are discarded as soon as their services are no longer needed. These groups cannot be disbanded so they continue to unleash mayhem on the same people that are passing through the same ordeal with them.

Continuous community engagement and advocacy with every one armed with adequate key messages for community & religious leaders, women, men, youths, children to stop the violence and heed to peacebuilding processes.  Primary & secondary school children must be stopped from joining cult groups and bullies to stop intimidating other children. In some of our engagement with community women they resolved to go home and engage their children on the issue of violence but they also maintained that some of these have grown out of their reach but still promised to try their best. Stop Gender Based violence. We started building capacity of women on confidence for community peacebuilding inclusion

Lessons learnt – Youths have difficulties breaking out of those cult groups because of reversal attacks from other members.

COVID-19 pandemic affected our work, COVID 19 slowed our work to a large extent. Our work has to be done from home through social media since there was lockdown there was no movement and gatherings and meetings were banned. Though we carried out some house-to-house engagements to enlighten communities on COVID 19 and encouraged them to comply with all the preventive measures.

In the centre of our recovery plan is SDG 16+ Peace building which will result into building a resilient society after the pandemic. Peacebuilding should be seen in a new light. Every recovery plan should be geared towards creating a peaceful co-existence between small and big businesses, between businesses and indigenous people they operate in their land. Violence mercenaries should be met with across tables for dialogue and conflicts resolved through peace building processes.  Big Oil Corporations, Petrochemicals and other big industries must devise new ways of running their businesses by taking Environmental impacts seriously and improve their climate change adaptations and mitigations processes. Human resource management should be more people oriented.

Peace building process can assist in the recovery process from COVID 19, if communities can inculcate peace building processes into their daily lives and activities. Process of understanding properly the pandemic and how it works, analyse the process of transmission and the preventive measures and lessons learnt from the pandemic – restoring humanity by reaching out to neighbours, relatives and friends whom we have not seen or spoke to in a long while; Being our sisters and brothers keepers by sharing love and groceries to those that do not have; Understanding human frailty and dependency on one another to survive through the response of frontliners as well as everyone around us.

The gap between rich and poor has increased tremendously and between the genders too. The world leaders and everybody have a lot to do to ensure that our recovery is devoid of inequalities and poverty. World fund should be used to bridge the gap of inequalities and poverty. Government should operate a sincere bottom-top system approach in all programs by consulting community people and getting their pulse in every policy before and after. Gender Based Violence perpetrators must be given stiffer penalties.

Comments 7

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Jul 19
Jul 19

Thank you for sharing.

Busayo Obisakin
Jul 19
Jul 19

Dear Sister
Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Yes funding is now a major problem of grassroot NGO. I hope you find help in getting necessary fund for the great work you are doing. You could check sites like Fund for NGOs for likely links to funders. Wishing you all the best Sis!

Jul 21
Jul 21

thank you Busayo. Yes i know about FundsforNGO but you know how com petitive it can be. i do not lose hope. something must break soon. thank you very much for having my back. stay safe

Jul 21
Jul 21

Dear Otahelp,

I applaud you for this informative post and for everything that you are doing to make your country a better place for all, but more particularly for women and girls.

In spite of the challenges around funding, you are still working hard to build peace and security. This is impressive and please keep it. Kudos to you.

In sisterhood and solidarity.

Jul 21
Jul 21

Thank you very much Kabahenda for taking out time to read and leave an encouraging comment. Funds are hard to come by but if we want a better society and world then we must continue to work. sisterhood hugs.

Hello, Otahelp,

Congratulations on being one of the finalists! Peace building is such an important work. I commend you for pursuing this advocacy and for teaching the youth, too.

Funding is really a challenge even before the pandemic began. I hope you can secure needed finances for your peace building program.

Please keep us updated on Voices of Peace 2020.

Paulina Nayra
Aug 24
Aug 24

Dear Ota,
You are doing an immensely important and challenging job. I hope you will be able to receive funding for your work; develop an enterprise that will engage young people and prevent them from joining cult groups. I wish you'll find a ray of hope among politicians and sincere government bureaucrats. I also wish you have people around you who are as passionate as you are in peace building. Please take care sister. Don't forget yourself as you navigate the peace building process. I wish you success in your work and family.