Month: April 2024

Month: April 2024

GNWP Reports from Nigeria: Bringing Women, Peace and Security to Local Communities through Young Women’s Leadership 

2 April 2023 by Anne Mugo*

During the national commemoration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2024 in Abuja, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP-Nigeria) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD), launched the Guidelines for the Localization of Nigeria’s National Action Plan (NAP) on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Developed by GNWP and WANEP-Nigeria, and with support from Global Affairs Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOP), the Guidelines are a step-by-step tool for Nigerian state and local governments, civil society organizations and other peace actors to adopt GNWP’s Localization of WPS[1] strategy to effectively implement UNSCR 1325 and other peace and security resolutions in the country.

Emphasizing the need for women at the grassroots to take an active role in advancing gender equality and development in Nigeria, the Minister for Gender and Women’s Affairs, Honourable Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, officially presented the Guidelines to attendees alongside the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Mohammed Mallick Fall, and WANEP-Nigeria’s National Network Coordinator, Ms. Bridget Osakwe. Thus far, 16 Nigerian states — including Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau and Rivers — have adopted State Action Plans to institutionalize the Nigerian WPS NAP. In addition, more than 15 Local Government Areas (LGAs) have adopted Local Action Plans (LAPs).

“In line with the Hon. Minister’s call to action, Localization is about taking this message to the grassroots to create Local Action Plans and for you leaders of women groups in the grassroots to steer the process. These guidelines will help you develop action plans for and with women at any level. They will help you develop action plans that place women at the heart of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Nigeria.”

The Localization strategy has enabled Nigerian local authorities and leaders, including governors, paramount chiefs, traditional councils, security personnel, teachers, marginalized groups and religious leaders, to jointly analyze the peace and security situation in their local areas and identify concrete actions needed to build gender-equal and sustainable peace, all while placing local Nigerian women and youth leaders at the forefront. In Bauchi and Gombe states, local steering committees were established to guide the implementation of LAPs. GNWP and WANEP-Nigeria, with PSOP support, also convened a two-day Localization workshop for the national chapter of GNWP’s Young Women+ Leaders for Peace (YWL) network to ensure continuity and build the capacities of young women peacebuilders to advance the country’s WPS and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) NAPs. Representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs joined the workshop and applauded ongoing peacebuilding efforts from the YWL and partners. Twenty-three diverse young women peacebuilders from urban and rural areas, including young women with disabilities, participated in the in-person training on human-centered peacebuilding approaches, gender-responsive conflict analysis, gender-inclusive governance and the full-cycle implementation of the WPS and YPS agendas, with more than 50 joining virtually.

Over the past few years, cases of gender-based violence, land disputes, inter-communal violence, farmer-herder conflicts and violent extremism have imperiled the safety and livelihoods of the Nigerian people, particularly women and youth. In Borno and Kaduna states, banditry and mass abductions have especially become the norm, with more than 300 feared missing in recent weeks, most of them school-going girls and boys. The spiraling security crisis is indicative of increasing threats from armed groups and insurgents in Nigeria’s northeast and northwest regions. During the workshop, the YWL analyzed these emerging threats and devised ways they could contribute to peace and Localization in their communities. In a knowledge-sharing session, participants listened to encouraging outcomes from experienced intergenerational peacebuilders who have participated in successful GNWP- and WANEP-enabled Localization processes. For instance, in Delta, women who were trained and engaged in the Localization process eventually formed the United Women Peacebuilders Network (UWPN), which responds to various human security issues in the state. In Gombe, four local governments have adopted LAPs and established two steering committees to monitor and direct their implementation. In Balanga, the local government facilitated a dialogue between two warring parties upon the steering committee’s recommendation.

Despite persistent barriers, the young women peacebuilders expressed renewed interest in expanding the Localization of WPS in synergy with YPS to more local areas. They made individual commitments to which they would be accountable, including producing Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials in local dialects to popularize UNSCR 1325, engaging young women and men with disabilities and other minorities on the NAP and working with existing government structures to hold community-level engagements on R1325 and R2250 among others. GNWP and WANEP pledged their continued dedication to supporting and amplifying the young women-led peace and conflict-prevention efforts.

GNWP is grateful to Global Affairs Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOP) for its ongoing support of gender- and age-sensitive peacebuilding programs in Nigeria.

[1] GNWP and WANEP-Nigeria led the Localization in Bauchi; Katagum and Toro and Gombe: Kaltungo and Yamaltu—Deba, Balanga, and Kwami LGAs. Other areas include Borono; Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Delta: Ughelii South, Ukwuami and Oshimili South, Kano; Faggae and Plateau; Jos North, Mangu, Riyom and Wase.
Picture of Anne Mugo

Anne Mugo

Anne is an Associate for Africa’s Peacebuilding Programs at GNWP. In this role, she supports the team in the continent’s advocacy, research, communication and programmatic work. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya.