“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.” —LyndonB.Johnson
To corroborate the peace saying, above, GPPAC Nigeria, a network recently birthed out of The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) took the bold step to kick start its operation towards conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the four corners of Nigeria through its official inaugural launch in August 2023.
Among many other things, it is a general belief that the goal of any society is to ensure that peace is present and comes to stay, especially during times of conflict. Even though, peacebuilding may take some processes to be attained, the outcome is better and durable than living in crisis.
On August 1 2023, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, the regional secretariat of GPPAC West Africa hosted about twenty two (22) organisations across Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for the official launch of the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Nigeria Network.
The emergence of the network served as an eye-opener for Civil Society Organisations especially in the area of harnessing the power of networking to build resources, learn and share experiences, build bridges and to also achieve sustainable peace and development in Nigeria and the world at large.
As a way of introducing the members of the Nigeria network to what GPPAC stands for, they were enlightened on the objectives of GPPAC, critically examining its purpose, vision and mission to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Importance of GPPAC Nigeria Membership Network
In one of his statements, Rafiu Lawal, the GPPAC West Africa representative emphasised that in the spirit of networking, the GPPAC Nigeria network members can build a community (peacebuilding), restore trust, repair damaged relationships, revitalise group interactions, enhance solidarity and create requisite sensitisation to mobilise stakeholders to participate in peacebuilding process. Expertise, technicality and resources can also be harnessed through the membership Network.
Furthermore, GPPAC’s collaborative approach among CSOs and stakeholders provides space for collective actions, interdependency and complementarity among network members or organisations. The Civic space is a very large one with its attendant problems especially in this part of the world, West Africa, in general, Nigeria in particular. Notwithstanding, members are encouraged to work in synergy to actualise the various mandates in a short and a long run; GPPAC expresses this in clear terms.
Human capacity building between members of the network and organisations was another take-home package from the ‘August’ event. If truly optimised, it would strengthen commitment level and become an added-value for building sustainable peace and development in our society.
What CSOs Should Do To Prevent Conflict and Build Peace
CSOs and members should build alliances.
Through internal capacity. Where members or CSOs are lagging behind, in the area of capacity, they should ensure to connect among themselves to tap from each other.
Connect with local, national, and regional platforms.
With a clear purpose, a shared vision and a mission and a strong drive to network with other CSOs, members strongly believe that GPPAC’s mandate which is a network of people building peace can be achieved when they collaboration together going forward.
Participants’ Experience Sharing
The Network approach of GPPAC to peacebuilding and conflict prevention according to some of the participants is broad and would definitely serve as solutions to struggles of working in isolation thereby giving room for members sharing experiences and bonding for future collaboration.
Another take-home from one of the participants was that leveraging on the network membership approach would be a game changer and would also greatly enhance quality of performance of CSOs with measurable impact and progress.
The apprehension of working without any evidence to show for it after time, energy and resources had been put into a project would reduce to a large extent as members of the network would have the opportunity to take advantage of and utilise the GPPAC Nigeria network to drive the message of peace to their various localities.
We are Excited!
At the end of the GPPAC Nigeria inaugural meeting, members were happy to say that they achieved the following and lots more.
Bonding/Networking between members’ organisations
Availability of possible frontiers of operations for future developments
Advocacy towards peacebuilding initiative
Other exciting opportunities in the GPPAC Nigeria Network.
In a nutshell, to make the GPPAC Nigeria network thrive, members would together pool strength, share their burdens, build capacity, and work in unison to achieve the common agenda of peacebuilding and conflict prevention across Nigeria, thereby, transcending to the world. Also, the quality of members’ inputs would be reflected in the output deliveries. In view of this, there would be a society free of violent conflict as network members engage the proven tools for peacebuilding and conflict prevention, hence, achieving GPPAC’s goal, which is BUILDING PEACE.
Building Blocks for Peace Foundation (BBFORPEACE) is a non-governmental organisation working on Conflict Prevention, Prevention of Violent Extremism, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. The organization was incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria in 2017.
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a global network led by civil society organisations (CSOs) actively working to prevent violent conflict and build more peaceful societies.
The network consists of 15 regional networks, with priorities and agendas specific to their environment. Each region is represented in the International Steering Group, which jointly determines our global agenda and approach.
Anthonia Folashade and Oladipo David
Regional Secretariat, GPPAC West Africa