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European Union backs implementation of peace building programme in Plateau


By Eric Ojo

As part of its international development assistance in Nigeria, the European Union (EU) is currently supporting the peace-building process in Plateau State through a programme aimed at conflict prevention and economic development.

The programme tagged; “Support to Peace-Building and Conflict Prevention in Plateau State Nigeria”, is funded by the EU through its Instrument for Stability (IfS). The programme seeks to contribute to the peace-building process in the state by rallying support to strengthen the framework for peace as well as promoting peace and stability through economic development in the state.

Under the programme, three separate, but complementary projects are being implemented by EU’s implementing partners, namely; Apurimac Onlus, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmBH and Search for Common Ground (SFCG).

The overall objective of the project, according to a statement issued by the office of the EU Delegation to Nigeria in Abuja,  is to contribute to conflict reduction and improved peace and stability in Plateau State through employment creation and increased income.

The statement added that the project has four components which include, financial literacy, financial inclusion as well as improving access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), capacity-building for NGOs and lobby groups with regards to advocacy on economic development particularly related to peace and security and entrepreneurship training for youth and women, improving public-private dialogue for local economic development and increasing productivity and processing in the potato value chain.

The statement also disclosed that the project will be implemented in four main focus areas, including peace education through trainings for teachers, school administrators, Parents-Teachers Association, lecturers and students, as well as development of manuals for peace education and peace club to be used in all secondary schools across the state and enhancing reconciliation between the communities in conflict and also victims of violence through trainings and creation of a trauma centre in Jos, adding that this phase of the project will concentrate on identification, rehabilitation and re-integration of both victims and perpetrators of conflict.

Other areas of focus according to the statement, have to do with re-enforcing existing vocational centres in Jos North, Jos South as well as the establishment of a new vocational centre in Tunkus, in Mikang LGA of Southern Plateau State; using entrepreneurship skill development to mitigate poverty, conflict, unemployment and promote right relationship and community cohesion and impacting the media and social operators through trainings for media practitioners on constructive reportage as well as media campaigns for peace.

It also noted that the GIZ is focusing on contributing to the Economic Development for Peace and Stability in Plateau State, adding that the project is closely linked to the Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme (SEDIN) which has been operating in Plateau state since April 2011 in the promotion of MSMEs.

“Search for Common Ground (SFCG) will support the development of a “Peace Architecture” in four interrelated initiatives. First, it will focus on supporting confidence-building, mediation and reconciliation efforts that can reduce tensions, polarization, and the overall level of violence in deeply divided areas. Second, SFCG will invest efforts in building the capacity of key local stakeholders, including civil society, religious and community leaders, and public institutions, to prevent or mitigate future conflict and reduce the risk of manipulation.

“Third, it will focus on increasing linkages between civil society, security and the state government in order to have a coherent and holistic response to conflict dynamics. Fourth, it will support increased participation and inclusiveness for alternative and marginalized groups, including women and children, not only as victims of conflict but as drivers of peace. The IFS projects will be implemented across 14 Local Governments Areas (LGAs) in Plateau State with the entire state as the final beneficiary”, the statement further disclosed.

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