LITE-Africa Goes North

The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in conjunction with Project Consultant Dr. Lanre Adebayo, is currently implementing the Kaduna Community Dialogue Programme with funding from the UK Department of International Development (DFiD). This programme was developed in response to the post-election violence which erupted in Kaduna, in April 2011. The project uses dialogue as a non-confrontational means to mitigate conflict. Through the programme, Community Development Networks were established in each of the 4 project LGA’s Kaduna, Jema’a, Zango Kataf, and Zaria. Each network has been provided with funding to implement a development project based on community needs. The Networks bring together representatives of various community based organizations to spearhead project implementation, source funding for future projects and liaise with government on community development issues.

Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment was recruited as a consultant to facilitate training on local governance and participatory development. The trainings were designed to provide participants with the skills to be able to sustain participatory community governance and development. This training gave participants an overview of the peace building, conflict management and early warning systems. Participants were provided an understanding of how to assess community development needs through participatory rural appraisal, needs assessment and SWOT analysis. They were also taught the basis of the monitoring and evaluation to ensure the sustainability of all projects implemented. Finally, participants were given an understanding of their roles and responsibilities as they relate to governance at the community level.

social charter
Social Charter being signed by Traditional Rulers at the Emirs Palace in Zaria, Kaduna State

Following this, community dialogue sessions were held in each LGA, which LITE-Africa facilitated. The dialogue sessions allowed community members to assess the causes and consequences of conflict and discuss ways to sustain peace. LITE-Africa assisted in the development of Social Charters for each CDN, which was reviewed at the community dialogue sessions. The Charters outline the roles and responsibilities of the CDN’s, the principles, goals and objectives and their areas of engagement conflict management and peacebuilding, local governance and community development. The Charters were signed by CDN members, government officials, traditional rulers and religious leaders. LITE-Africa facilitated the signing. The Community Dialogue Programme is an innovate initiative; it presents a holistic and sustainable approach, combining elements of peacebuilding and development.

This programme is LITE-Africa’s first intervention in Northern Nigeria, through this experience we observed that through this intervention participants were receptive to the idea of peace evidenced by intra and inter group cooperation. The role of traditional rulers in the North is quite significant as they garner great respect from their people underscoring the significant role they can play in peacebuilding and community development if properly engaged. There is great need for livelihoods interventions in the region considering the lack of employment particularly among youth, evidenced by drug use and violence. LITE-Africa hopes that in the near future we can address some of these issues by expanding our programming to Northern Nigeria.

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