Civil Peace

The Civil Peace Unit

Development Work does not automatically advance the cause of peace.  Additional, specific efforts are required in the crucial areas of peace-building, crisis-prevention and conflict-transformation. The Civil Peace Project in the Archdiocese started in the year 2004. We aim at promoting and strengthening peace in Oyo and Osun State by sensitizing and empowering parts of the civil society in mainly Oyo and Osun State.  We empower our target beneficiaries through the provision of relevant skills that are required for their development, self help initiatives and reduction in the tension created due to a systemic failure. Their capacities are built through direct interactive sessions and role playing in a workshop setting with the beneficiaries. The capacity building activities carried out were targeted at changing the attitude of participants, prevention of violence and bringing about social development in communities.

Project key areas:

  • Peace Journalism
  • Peace Education in Secondary Schools
  • Inter-religious Co-operation and Dialogue
  • Capacity Building

Peace Journalism

In partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and in co-operation with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) we are training journalists and lecturers on a fairer, broader and more accurate way to report conflicts and violence. The training enhances the participant’s basic understanding of conflict, violence and peace, it introduces them to tools for analyzing conflicts and gives them a guide-line on the practice of Peace Journalism. 
It is further looked into how the media can act as a mediator, how gender mainstreaming can be advanced in the media and how conflict-sensitive investigation interviewing and reporting can be practiced. The trained participants become part of a Peace Journalism Forum, organized by the NUJ, which organizes public discourses on the role of the media in local and national conflicts.So far we were able to train journalists and lecturers from 23 Nigerian states. We are also training undergraduate and post-graduate students of Communication and Language Arts in the University of Ibadan and future journalists in the International Institute of Journalism, Ibadan. The one-semester course has been included in the curricula of both institutions.

Peace Education in Secondary Schools
Our peace education programme is being carried out in cooperation with 45 partner schools and runs only in the Archdiocese of Ibadan, which covers parts of Oyo and Osun State with its main towns of Ibadan, Ikire and Iwo. We train selected students and teachers from Secondary Schools. The training has different stages. The first stage is a 4-day Peace Education workshop where skills for dealing with conflicts, violence, anger, prejudices and stereotypes are trained.  After this, the participants are invited to form a peace club in their school. Members of the club will mediate in intra- and inter-school conflicts. We regularly visit the schools for sensitization film shows on topics like emigration from Africa to Europe or interreligious understanding. The partner schools are regularly invited to participate in drama and essay-writing Competitions on peace and conflict-related topics like corruption, child abuse, violence against women & other crosscutting issues. The winners receive prices or take part in an annual Peace Camp. In addition to the students the Civil Peace Unit has also trained selected teachers and education lecturers on the basics and the methods of Peace Education.
Inter-religious Co-operation and Dialogue
Bearing in mind the regular outbreak of religiously colored violence in Nigeria we try to enhance the Muslim-Christian dialogue in the South-West of Nigeria. A strong relationship with the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, has been established. Starting with shared activities on HIV/AIDS awareness-creation, together with the Department we have held annual 2-day conferences on issues concerning interreligious cooperation. In September 2006 the conference on “Intra- and Inter-religious Conflict Resolution” was directed at Imams, Pastors and Priests. In 2007, we held a conference for Muslim and Christian Youth leaders and in November 2008 a conference for Christian and Muslim women group leaders. The annual conference in December 2009 was on the role of the Media in promoting interreligious understanding and cooperation in Nigeria. The participants came from religious bodies and from the Media. The exchange between the different religions on the use and the role of the media was lively and fruitful. In times of increasing tensions between the two religions the presented papers, speeches and discussions and the large media attention of the conferences represents a strong symbol of peace.

Capacity Building

Training-of-CBO-Leaders-in-Community-Conflict-ManagementWe build the capacity of present and future Religious and Community Leaders in ‘Conflict Transformation’, ‘Peace-building’ and ‘Project Development’.We have trained the leaders of a network of 40 local Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Community Development Associations (CDAs) in Community Conflict Management. More than 200 Catholic priests, sisters and seminarians have been trained on peace-building, conflict transformation, as well as on how to design projects. Mission Sisters of the Holy Rosary Convent were prepared for their peace-building mission in Sierra Leone. Investing in peace and crisis prevention is cheaper than the cure of the effects of violence. The Civil Peace Unit aims to build sustainable local capacities for peace. The impact may not be felt immediately, but the planted seeds will grow and one day bear fruits.