COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE PARTICIPATORY EVALUATION MEETINGS OF THE FIRST PROJECT CYCLE OF CONFLICT MITIGATION AND PEACE BUILDING PROJECT IMPLEMENTED IN THE STATES OF KADUNA, BAUCHI, NASARAWA AND TARABA STATES IN NIGERIA ORGANIZED BY AREWA YOUTH FORUM (AYF) HELD AT ASAA PYRAMID HOTEL, KADUNA ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2015
Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) has just concluded the implementation of a series of Participatory Evaluation Meetings in four states culminating with the Kaduna State Participatory Evaluation Meeting which took place on Tuesday October 20, 2015 thus marking the end of the first project cycle of Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building Project (CMPB) that was implemented in Kaduna, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Taraba States in Nigeria. The meeting aimed to evaluate the outcomes and impact of the Community Dialogue Fora in twelve centres across the four states. The meetings drew a total of 600 participants with 150 participants per State involving youth, women, religious and traditional leaders and government representatives. Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu (Project Director) was leader of the Project Management Team. Other Members of the Team included Abdiel Kude, Ahmed Mohammed Zagi, Ahmed Usman, Bello Abdulhammid and Delu Adamu Jonah. After exhaustive deliberations on the various dimensions of the project on the target group and beneficiary community, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- Hitherto, effective implementation of various programmes, projects and policies at community level has suffered from administrative inconsistency, lack of sustainability, weak coordination and corruption.
- Communities appreciate the opportunity to interact and discuss community problems and challenges and to collectively proffer solutions.
- Over-concentration by the political class on the empowerment of individuals and neglecting the strengthening of community structures at the grassroots has greatly weakened the foundational structures of society – family and community.
- The opportunity for community action has yielded positive results with potential to serve as a model for other communities as CDFs report taking action to engage key stakeholders to address community issues.
- The outcomes include, to mention a few, Zauren Sulhu in Zango- Bauchi LGA (Bauchi State), engagement of security agencies and traditional rulers thus bringing a united effort and focus to community needs and issues in Kafanchan leading to a township rally to sensitize the whole of Kafanchan town (Kaduna State)and a peaceful 2015 General Elections, involvement of Local Government in Gossol LGA in the Mutum-Biyu CDF (Taraba State)
- The CDFs have provided opportunity for grassroots intervention by the community people themselves.
- All Centres report that the CDF has, provided a strong platform for identifying community issues and taking action to address them.
- Reports from all the CDFs indicate that unemployment, livelihood challenges, political manipulation, ethno-religious conflicts are major issues. This outlines critical areas of intervention for the communities.
- Gender mainstreaming is a critical dimension in community development and needs to be integrated into the project as from the next cycle. This is an important opportunity to bring this intervention for gender and social inclusion at grassroots level as against the conventional approach of getting governments to institute policies or legislate for gender and social inclusion. This will go a long way to showcase the merits and advance the arguments for gender and social inclusion as an imperative for development at both community and national levels.
- Lack of community strengthening programmes, in spite of existing policies, have weakened the economies and social fabric of grassroots communities and rendered them vulnerable as recruitment grounds for insurgent movements. This has grossly undermined livelihood development for a high number of communities
- Lack of autonomy to Local Governments has impeded adequate intervention for community development at the grassroots.
The participants at the Participatory Evaluation Meetings recommended as follows:
- The replication of the Community Dialogue Approach towards empowering communities for community – driven development, conflict mitigation and peace building across the states of the federation
- State and Federal Governments should, as a matter of fact, institute interventions aimed at strengthening communities, livelihood development
- Infrastructure development and the provision of adequate utility services (electricity, water and transport) will further enhance development of communities and livelihoods
- State and Federal Governments to grant adequate autonomy to the Local Governments to effect positive change, conflict mitigation and peace building efforts at the grassroots.
The participants of the Participatory Evaluation Meetings and the Community Dialogue Fora in the Four Implementing States express appreciation to Arewa Youth Forum for embarking on this noble effort to mitigate conflict, build peace and advocate for the growth of communities. The participants demonstrated willingness to continue partnering with AYF on the initiative. Participants further expressed gratitude to the organizers noting that the engagement was revealing and indeed an opportunity to begin to engage with key stakeholders for the development of their communities.
Finally the Arewa Youth Forum wishes to note and make a strong call on the affected State Governors to consider engaging with communities with commensurate interventions after reviewing the CMPB Interim Reports relevant to their states for the project that was sent to them through engaging with Arewa Youth Forum as requested. We hope that by so doing lots of synergy will be added in our desire to see that issues highlighted are tackled head long.
AREWA YOUTH FORUM: