Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I’m Cat Lockman, Director of Resource Development for the Global Peace Foundation. I joined the GPF team last year and made a commitment to expand our funding and donor base to support GPF’s visionary, yet realistic and proven approaches to conflict resolution and peace building.
On my last trip to Africa I visited a number of girls’ schools. One of them was a girls’ secondary boarding school in a rural village. In the main hall, more than 100 girls gathered closely around me, dancing with me and pushing little scraps of paper with their names on them into my hands, to add them to my Facebook friends. It was really touching and sweet.
This week’s news from Nigeria really crushed me — 100 girls were kidnapped from their school by armed extremists. I thought you might care too because I know that this type of conflict is an issue you’re interested in. Those 100 kidnapped girls may not ever get another chance to dance and be Facebook friends with a lady from the US, or anyone else. This school violence follows on the bus bombing earlier in the week in the busy city of Abuja, which killed at least 75 people and blew up at least 30 vehicles during a morning rush hour. Last month, rural villages were attacked and women and children murdered. The violence is escalating.
What’s urgent is that Global Peace Foundation and its permanent Chapter in Nigeria have already partnered with the top Christian and Muslim leaders and are poised and ready to engage local youth in the violence “hot spots” in peacebuilding. We already have a plan, we have our staff on the ground (all local leaders) and a proven antidote to violence.
Our initial goal is only to raise $1MM local Naira, which is about $7,000 USD to sponsor the first Muslim / Christian youth leadership retreat — this is a direct antidote to the extremist violence and recruitment of youth by local terrorist groups. Global Peace Foundation’s work on the ground makes a difference — we did work very similar in Kenya after civilian violence and received a United Nations Commendation for it.
The violence in Nigeria is aimed at women, children and civilians. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and it’s a place where stopping a genocide or mass civilian causalities is still possible.
Your support has never been more meaningful. Thanks for your concern.
Director of Resource Development
Global Peace Foundation
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