Government and Communities have been urged to establish Media Centres to help harness the power of the media to counter divisions and deal with problems in a creative and non-violent fashion.
This is one of the recommendations of a research by UN Women on peace and security architecture in Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau States, which were carried out to ascertain the impact of conflict on women and their level of involvement in peace building, conflict resolution and decision making.
During the Review of the Gombe State Peace Architecture and Stakeholders Validation Meeting, the Lead Researcher and Country Director of Plan International, Dr. Husseini Abdul said establishing a community media centre would dispel rumours, give a voice to the voiceless and encourage people to think of peaceful solutions.
Dr. Abdul also called for the training of Journalists on conflict and peace reporting, as well as peace and human rights reporting to help increase peoples’ understanding of issues involved and manage cases of biased and gender-insensitive sensitive reporting.
“Community Media Centres could involve a voluntary or civil society coordinated media centre: it can help to harness the power of the media to counteract divisions, dispel rumours, give a voice to the voiceless, encourage people to think of peaceful solutions and to deal with problems in a creative and non-violent fashion,” Dr. Abdul said.
The research conducted in Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau States between September and November, 2016, is being funded by the European Union in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and UNICEF.
The essence is to promote women’s engagement in peace and security in the three States and strengthen their leadership role, advance gender equality and improve protection for women and children in conflict settings.
Consequently, in order to determine how to effectively engage and ensure the participation of women, the research was carried out.
The findings came out that the involvement of women was very low, due to lack of capacity, poor coordination, politicisation of institutions by powerful political forces and inadequate resources to sustain the peace building effort.
Dr. Abdul said women and peace talk programme on radio and television could be used to raise awareness on Resolution 1325 and promote the culture of peace.
“Social media: the social media has helped democratised access and dissemination of information. Women’s blogs, WhatsApp groups, Facebook, Tweeter and other social platforms can be used for early warning reporting, communicate conflict issues and to hear voices rarely heard in the mainstreamed media,” Dr. Abdul stated.
“With the globalising influence, conflicts are rarely local. Even where they are local, the driving forces may be national or even global. The conflict dynamics in the States have indicated strong regional and national character. Responding to a conflict in a State will therefore require both national level interventions and cooperation and coordination with neighbouring States. Interventions in this area could include inter-State peace Committee, National Action Team on Peace Building and Mobilise development partners,” he added.
With the public presentation and validation for Adamawa and Gombe already done and that of Plateau slated on Thursday, the UN Women says the findings are to be used to develop a more gender sensitive and human rights architecture.
The Deputy Programme Manager, Women, Peace and Security, of UN Women, Mr. Peter Mancha spoke on the importance of the validation meeting and what it would achieve involving women in peace building in Northern Nigeria.
“At the end of the day, a report will be produced and we will call it the review of the State Peace Architecture, which will be presented to the State government. It will also inform the programme in the UN Women and what other actors are doing in peace and security. It has recommendations on what needs to be done to strengthen them” Mr. Mancha said.
Other recommendations made by the researchers include community outreach programmes that will build local capacity on peace issues, using traditional methods including community drama, as well as the use of women and peace talk programme on radio and television, to raise awareness on UN Resolution 1325 and promote the culture of peace, among others.