The Mano River countries of West Africa are dealing with the legacies of years of brutal civil war and continued lack of accountability. Whilst Nigeria is still in the midst of the Boko Haram insurgency – with new conflicts now arising over resource scarcity. In West Africa, porous borders mean conflict in one country can threaten the whole region’s prospects for peace.
In Nigeria, escalating inter-communal tension has destabilised and divided communities, the Boko Haram insurgency (and its offshoot Islamic State in West Africa) has displaced over 2.3 million people, and conflict over land and resources has led to widespread violence. In the northeast of the country and Plateau state, we work with those most affected by conflict, supporting them to develop the skills and confidence required to jointly find creative ways to find alternatives to violence.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, two civil wars and two political crises displaced millions of people and caused widespread underdevelopment, particularly in border regions. Armed conflicts are officially over, but political tensions and insecurity remain high and the legacies of conflict continue to shape people’s lives and opportunities. We have been working in the Mano River region since 1996, focused on supporting dialogue between civil society and governments to prevent renewed outbreaks of violence.
To be successful in peacebuilding is to be respectful and transparent in your community. Let people respect you as a leader. Work along with people who will understand you, and show them how they too could be a peacebuilder.