Foundation mobilises community peace builders

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The Gray Child Foundation has said its ‘Activating Positive Peace in Nigeria’ initiative will not only promote national peace and security but sustainable development as it moves to among others, create a network of empowered community peacebuilders across the country.

The Chairman of the Pan-African non-partisan organization working to improve communities and human capital development of people in Nigeria and Africa, Pietro Uzochukwu Macleo stated this on Wednesday in Abuja in a chat with journalists.

Activating Positive Peace in Nigeria is a pet project of the foundation which is collaborating with Rotary International and Rotary Associates to drive positive peace building initiatives across Nigeria using local Rotary structures.

According to Uzochukwu, the initiative is targeted at creating and implementing holistic programs that will institutionalize peace and strengthen peace infrastructures in the grassroots, rural communities, urban metropolis, public and private governance institutions.

He said the foundation has embarked on projects that would establish peace infrastructures in rural and urban communities, thereby re-enforcing the eight pillars of positive Peace across the 36 States.

“Our goal is to create a network of empowered community peace builders across Nigeria, who would have the capacity to act as an early warning and early response mechanism that would address, contain, monitor and report brewing conflicts and uprising, to consequently curb direct violence, marginalization across gender, ethno-religious, and other critical historical, socio-political dimensions of conflicts,” he further stated.

The Gray Child Foundation Chairman noted that the mismanagement of national resources is an enabler of poverty and transfered of aggression inevitable aspects of daily socio-political economic routine for the average citizen as well as poverty and injustice caused by dishonesty, weakens any sense of mutual tolerance, social solidarity or coexistence, while reawakening social hatred, radicalism and violence.

He said for this reason, building strong institutions and reinforcing existing ones are seen as one of the most important issues that have to be resolved in order to cope with recurring violent conflicts in the country.

“These realities points to the fact that if deliberate efforts and measures are not put in place, there may be a total collapse of the country as predicted by many, and this is why humanitarians of repute; Rotarians and Rotary Associates, having successfully eradicated polio in Nigeria; have taken peace building and conflict resolution as the next key project.

“Our programme is rooted in tested workable global theories, methodologies and best practices. Our activities are anchored on the “Institute for Economics and Peace” ideology of positive peace; re-enforced with the theory of change, thereby making our peacebuilding interventions to be strategic; deliberately targeting and enhancing the weak pillars of positive peace in Nigeria communities. Every of our project targets and addresses the root causes of conflict so as to prevent a re-occurrence, and attain sustainable peace and development,” he added.

Uzochukwu who is also an Institute for Economics and Peace(IEP) Ambassador further explained that the eight pillars of positive peace are pillars or features that have been identified by the IEP to be inherent in a community/ country which directly accounts for the level of peacefulness in that society.

“While the presence and functionality of these pillars accounts for peace, tranquility and development, its absence accounts for violent conflicts, crisis, insecurity, endless agitations etc. It is therefore advised that institutions that are directly responsible for the optimum functionality of these pillars should be constantly re-enforced and sustained.

“These eight pillars includes: Well-functioning government, equitable distribution of resources, free flow of information, good relations with neighbours, high levels of human capital, acceptance of the rights of others, low levels of corruption, sound business environment,” he expatiate.

He said as peacebuilding is dynamic and progressive, the foundation has outlined several programmes and tailor-made projects to address peace and conflict concerns as they may arise.

He said the activities include: the promotion of peaceful relationships among people of all ages, ethnicity, religion and culture- from personal to global through education, dialogue, advocacy, research and action.

“We will be providing practical tools for peaceful living including skills and methods for conflict resolution and violence prevention. We will be establishing peace infrastructures such as early warning sign mechanisms, construction and equipping of peace orientation and vocational training centers, establishment of peace building mechanism in correctional facilities, construction of peace monuments in capital cities of the 37 States including FCT.

“Among others, we will be establishing Positive Peace Clubs in rural communities, liaising and partnering with other organizations advocating for sustainable peace,” he added.

He said to a very large extent, the foundation considers this initiative a quasi-panacea to address Nigeria’s predicaments, because having identified the weak pillars of positive peace, the Activating Positive Peace in Nigeria programmes are designed to strengthen those pillars.

“Our initiative involves preventing or ending direct violence as well as structural and cultural violence; and goes further to correct unjust social structures and social norms to prevent the occurrence or re-occurrence of direct violence in future.

“Positive Peace as a concept is about the appropriate attitudes, institutions, and structures which when strengthened, leads to a more peaceful society. Therefore our agenda for the activation of positive peace in Nigeria is geared towards strengthening, correcting and re-enforcing institutions, structures and attitudes of the Nigeria system so as to attain sustainable peace and development.

He said for Nigeria to address issues of peace, tranquility and peaceful co-existence, it requires the government, citizens -young and old, especially youths and women to be alive to their responsibilities and ensure that Nigeria moves from being a ‘pariah’ in Global Peace Index to a safe, strong and united nation.

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