Description of initiative:
Our work at IMC/MCDF addresses the challenge of building peace. We do so by using a faith-based approach to promote acceptance of differences (religious, cultural, gender and other social differences) that exist in society and the use of non-violent methods in solving problems. This strategy acknowledges the fact that people are passionate about their religion and that nearly all people in Africa belong to one religion or another. It also draws on the immunity, moral authority and influence that religious leaders have on religious communities. The leaders of all sides to any conflict in Africa belong to one religion or another. Faith is therefore, a master key of sorts. Our work started in the city of Kaduna in Northern Nigeria. Kaduna has until fairly recently (the last four years), been the hotbed of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria. It is estimated that in the last decade, over 150,000 lives have been lost to such conflicts in Nigeria. Recent examples of our work from Nigeria include coordinating the formation of Kaduna Peace Committee and the adoption of the Kaduna Peace Declaration of August 2002. The President of Nigeria, Governor of Kaduna State and members of the diplomatic corps witnessed this event. Similar initiatives undertaken in Plateau State of Nigeria since it became engulfed with crises include mediation of the Yelwa-Shendam Peace Affirmation that was signed February 19, 2005 and facilitating the Peace Initiative of Pan and Goemai (July 19, 2006). Another initiative at Dillimi-Kwang has led up to the rebuilding of the communityâ??s market with support from United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Washington DC and Japanese Embassy (foundation laying/ground breaking ceremony took place in March 2006).
Description of innovation:
In addressing peace-building challenges, we use scriptural texts that promote peace and collaborate, partner or network with other peace practitioners and institutions. Further, we undertake peacemaking initiatives that establish frameworks for achieving peace at both high policy and community levels. We have programs that encourage partnership across the religious divide by supporting economic empowerment activities of inter religious women groups in conflict torn communities. We also promote good governance as a vital tool in conflict prevention, using faith-based approach. We partner with governments, community based organizations, religious institutions and traditional leaders, educational and other social institutions in carrying out our work. Sometimes, the initiative is ours and sometimes theirs. As recognition of the value of our work in Nigeria, we have been asked to undertake peace-building assignments in Africa and other parts of the world. On the continent, we facilitate empowerment activities through training in conflict management, peace building and reconciliation. We also undertake/promote healing and trust building activities as in countries like Sudan, Burundi, Kenya and Sierra Leone. We have recently facilitated two high level consultations in February 2006 and May 2006 for Christian- Muslim relationship in Kenya. We also facilitated a Christian-Muslim relationship for Sudan in Uganda. Beyond Africa, we have been presented as role models in the Global North in Croatia, Northern Ireland and among Native Americans in the United States of America. We were presented as role models for peace at the Co-existence initiative organized by the State of the World Forum held in Northern Ireland. Apart from being role models, we have participated as resource persons in Switzerland on building a network of Abrahamic religions to achieve peace. We were also facilitators on Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
IMC-MCDF uses participatory training and learning workshops and symposiums; multi-track approach using scriptural texts; organisation building and networking; media advocacy; learning, courtesy and advocacy visits; production of flyers, stickers, posters and manuals to deliver on our goals. We also use the project/programme approach to development. Projects and programmes are designed according to needs of target communities and support mobilised towards realising objectives of the initiative.
Key operational partnerships:
IMC-MCDF is affiliated to the following national networks: Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Christian Association of Nigeria, Jamaâ??atu Nasril Islam, Conflict Management Stakeholders Network, Non- state Actors, West African Civil Society Forum. The Centre is also affiliated to the following international associations: International Centre for Reconciliation, Coventry, UK; Initiative of Change, Caux, Switzerland; Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), Hague, The Netherlands; Open Society Initiative of West Africa, Dakar, Senegal; FTL films London, UK; Library of Congress Nigerian People Forum, USA; Nigerian Reconciliation Group, UK. Our Centre collaborates with the following organizations: National Democratic Institute (NDI), Abujaâ?? Nigeria; Strategic Empowerment and Mediation Agency (SEMA) Kaduna â?? Nigerian; Academic Associate Peace Work (AAPW) Abuja â?? Nigeria; Human Right Monitor (HRM), Kaduna â?? Nigeria; Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) Kaduna â?? Nigerian; The Kaduna Peace Committee (KPC) Kaduna â?? Nigerian; German Technical Co-operation (GTZ), Abuja, Nigeria; Institute of Democracy in South African (IDASA) Nigeria Office, Abuja; Responding to Conflict (RTC) Birmingham UK; Conflict Management Initiatives, Evanston IL, USA; International Alert (IA) Clapham, London, UK; Search for Common Ground, Washington D.C. USA; Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, US; Ashoka, Abuja-Nigeria; Diversity Matters Forum, Australia.