Peacebuilding Workshops Safeguard Freedom of Religion and Educate on Trauma Healing Practices in Nigeria

Naomi MacMurdie
January 23, 2024

Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria collaborated with the Christian Rural and Urban Development Association (CRUDAN) to host a series of peacebuilding workshops in November and December 2023.

A man with his hands out in front of a room, leading a peacebuilding workshop in Nigeria.

Facilitator from CRUDAN leads Trauma Healing session.

One training on the freedom of religion aimed to address religious conflicts and promote harmonious communities. The event brought together diverse communities to envision violence-free societies. Tear Fund Peace Foundation’s dedicated staff, led by Jude Likita, a Peacebuilding Officer, played a pivotal role in facilitating the training. Facilitators CRUDAN and GPF Nigeria also skillfully guided participants through small group discussions, emphasizing freedom of religious choice, respect for human dignity, and envisioning a society free of violence. The facilitators’ expertise contributed to the program’s success, fostering a space where participants felt empowered to share their perspectives and commit to positive change.

A group of people sitting and clapping during peacebuilding workshops.

Audience looks on during religious freedom workshop held in Nigeria.

Through this collaborative initiative, participants gained insights into their shared values and committed to applying their knowledge in their respective communities. The training proved instrumental in achieving its objectives, with participants now serving as advocates, calling themselves Freedom of Religion and Belief agents for community cohesion. Together, they are championing service-oriented initiatives in their localities. The collaborative effort underscored the significance of partnerships in driving positive social change and building resilient, inclusive communities.

GPF Nigeria and CRUDAN also collaborated for capacity building workshops to equip participants with mediation and reconciliation skills. The training resulted in improved inter-community relations and a dialogue forum organized to reduce conflict escalation on November 16, 2023.

A woman from Nigeria is sitting in a peaceful room, engaged in workshops with other people.

Participants sharing moments of grief and trauma for collective healing.

Women and youth leaders fostered open discussion on pressing issues at the community dialogue forum. The participants, empowered with mediation and reconciliation skills, actively contributed to addressing conflict within their communities. The forum served as a platform for dialogue, enabling the exchange of perspectives and the development of collective solutions. Importantly, they reached an agreement on a way forward, showcasing the tangible application of the acquired skills in real-life community scenarios.

A man from Nigeria is standing in front of a group of people during a peacebuilding workshop.

Participants sharing moments of grief and trauma for collective healing.

A woman in a hijab leading peacebuilding workshops for trauma healing practices and promoting freedom of religion.

Participants sharing moments of grief and trauma for collective healing.

The collaborative effort between GPF Nigeria and CRUDAN not only equipped individuals with valuable conflict resolution tools but also facilitated a forum where diverse voices converged, fostering a collective commitment to building harmonious and resilient communities.

GPF Nigeria and CRUDAN organized a Trauma Healing Training in December 2023, designed to navigate the complex dynamics of trauma, providing participants with valuable tools to recognize, cope with, and overcome the aftermath of deeply distressing events.

Integral to the success of the program was its seamless integration of the values and principles espoused by the One Family Under God campaign. By incorporating themes of forgiveness, love, trustworthiness, and the celebration of diversity, the training not only addressed the immediate concerns related to trauma but also laid a foundation for long-term healing and reconciliation within the communities involved. This intentional alignment with the campaign’s core values contributed to a transformative experience, fostering an environment where participants could find common ground and embrace a shared vision of unity.

“The training was thought-provoking and eye-opening,” said Aisha Muhammad, “I feel liberated after the forgiveness session, knowing that I have forgiven anyone who wronged me knowingly or unknowingly.”

A woman in a pink hijab is giving a thumbs up, symbolizing freedom of religion.

Participants express forgiveness and joy after sharing session.

The active participation and positive testimonies from the participants serve as a testament to the program’s efficacy. The openness displayed during the sessions, coupled with the willingness to engage with challenging topics, indicates a genuine commitment to personal and communal healing. The recommendations put forth by participants further highlight the potential for the sustained success and long-term impact of the initiative. As participants advocate for the expansion of the program, particularly to engage more women in the community, the ripple effects of this training are poised to extend far beyond its initial scope, creating a positive legacy of resilience, understanding, and unity within the participating communities.

A man is facilitating a peacebuilding workshops, leading trauma healing practices in front of a group of people.

Group discussions engage participants in religious freedom workshop.

The Trauma Healing Training stands as a beacon of hope, showcasing the profound impact that collaborative, values-driven initiatives can have on the well-being and cohesion of communities recovering from trauma.

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