Track Record / Achievements
To date AAPW has conducted over 170 skills-building workshops in various parts of Nigeria and northern Ghana. It has also trained 420 peace education teachers in 20 cities/towns throughout Nigeria and another 70 teachers in northern Ghana, in conjunction with ActionAid Ghana. AAPW has trained religious leaders; academic and nonteaching staff and students of 8 Nigerian universities; as well as local government officials, youth leaders and elders in 15 local governments across the Niger Delta.
In 1997, Academic Associates PeaceWorks began to concentrate on specific violent communal conflicts. Case studies are usually conducted as the first step, and 9 such studies are included in our book “Community Conflicts in Nigeria”. Another book on our 2-year intervention in Warri, “Conflict and Instability in the Niger Delta: the Warri Case” came out in 2002. Major interventions to date include the Tiv/Jukun problem in Wukari; the Itsekiri/Urhobo/Ijaw crisis in Warri; and the Ife/Modakeke issue in Osun State. Lower key interventions include: Zangon Kataf, Tafawa Balewa, Ugep, Mangu/Bokkos, Igbo-Ora, Takum. Interventions usually consist of: case study; peace education for secondary schools; conflict management training for youth leaders and adult community leaders; Outward Bound-type peace camps for students, teachers and community leaders; training and institutional strengthening of women NGOs; conciliation support of the peace process; socio-cultural activities including community animation and culmination in a peace festival. New peace and development initiatives in Ife/Modakeke include training of widows and former youth soldiers from the 2 sides of the conflict, in entrepreneurial skills and adult literacy.
In the past 4 years we have worked extensively in the conflict-prone Niger Delta, especially with an emphasis on peace and development. This has included mindset change/youth empowerment research and workshops for youths. A peace and development initiative started with GTZ in the area of the gas plant and neighbouring towns of Soku/Elem Sangama/Oluasiri, has since received funding from the Rivers State Government, as has an on-going peace process with Eleme and Okrika. AAPW has also worked on the conflict in Chevron’s host community of Ugborodo. It has also conducted conflict management and cross cultural training for the staff of NLNG and Shell. It also developed a Community Engagement Plan for a new associated gas gathering project in Bayelsa State.
Recognizing the importance of spreading awareness and accurate coverage of conflict issues, AAPW has trained 135 media practitioners, as well as media executives on interpreting violent conflict. Three of our project officers have also facilitated conflict analysis for BBC Training workshops of journalists. In 2001, AAPW and Search for Common Ground piloted a radio drama, entitled Peace House, which dealt with issues of ethnic and religious tolerance, interpersonal conflict, corruption and other social problems in an infotainment format. We are currently working with Search on a television drama, with cooperation from the Ministry of Information of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In preparation for the 2003 elections, the Embassy of Switzerland sponsored a travelling theatre troupe of young Nigerians presenting a play entitled “Peace Offering” which focused on non-violent elections. The troupe performed in 7 conflict-prone states and gave 30 performances. The play was revised for national television airing, with funding from the Ministry of Information.
Recognizing that ultimately the Nigerian government must own the peace process, rather than relying on foreign donors, we have been working with the Federal Government for the past two years on developing a Conflict Intervention System. This is based on the National Corps of Mediators which President Obasanjo’s Africa Leadership Forum and Academic Associates started in 1994. The Corps is composed of respected and respectable members of the civil society who have intervened in most of the conflicts listed above. As part of its work with government, AAPW trained all national and state officials of the National Orientation Agency in June 2002 and has collaborated with NOA on several other activities, including work with traditional rulers and an all parties conference prior to the April 2003 elections. In early April 2003 Academic Associates PeaceWorks also trained 600 top police officers on early warning signs of election conflict.
Academic Associates PeaceWorks believes that there is a direct link between poverty alleviation and conflict management; therefore poverty reduction programs are an important design component of all conflict intervention and peacebuilding programs. In both the Ife/Modakeke and the Niger Delta cases such programs were emphasized, designed and implemented. The Nigerian government also recognizes the direct link between poverty alleviation and conflict management and has joined with Academic Associates PeaceWorks, the British High Commission and DFID on poverty reduction as a peacebuilding strategy.
UN Habitat has expressed interest in supporting our work in Karu Local Government of Nasarawa Satte. As part of the civil society monitoring of the 2003 elections, AAPW sponsored 32 Karu residents and 8 AAPW staff members to monitor the April 12 and 19 elections. The monitors have met with other monitoring groups, the Divisional Police Officer, SSS and Independent National Electoral Commission officers, to ensure peaceful elections in Karu. This has been an interesting exercise in building civic participation in the democratic process.
Academic Associates PeaceWorks’ head office moved from Lagos to Abuja as of April 1, 2002. However offices remain in Lagos and Port Harcourt, with a small office in Karu
Academic Associates PeaceWorks received considerable initial funding from the British Council and DfID. Additional funding has come from USAID, OTI, USIS, US Institute of Peace, Westminster Foundation,, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, Chevron/Texaco, ActionAid Ghana, Conciliation Resources, the Embassy of Switzerland and GTZ. Local support has also come from the Federal Government of Nigeria, Rivers State Government, the Nigeria Police, the National Orientation Agency, and Zangon Kataf and Tafawa Balewa Local Governments.