Welcoming people of all faiths to sow the seeds of
non-violence and peace
throughout Africa in the Spirit of St Francis of Assisi



Women speaking about peace

26 May 2009

Women speaking about peace

Godwin, a friend of the Damietta Peace Initiative in Nigeria, who is a Methodist arranged an introductory meeting to DPI for approximately twenty women on Tuesday, 19th May 2009 in Jos. By 1:30 pm, however, there were 195 women present representing both the Muslim and Christian faiths.

The session was facilitated by Sister Helena McEvilly FMDM, DPI Nigeria Country Coordinating Team, which gave many of these women their first occasion to speak about peace. Sr Helena notes that the sharing of these ladies was so rich.

When Sr Helena proposed the question what the ladies shared in common, one woman said that all of us in this room know what it is to give birth to a child. Sr Helena then focused on a child sucking at its mothers breast and asked whether or not this child knows about differences, war, fighting, etc., and where children learn these things from.

Towards the end of the session, Sr Helena asked the ladies where it is that they desired to go from here. The decision was made that they would like to meet again at regular intervals to have a platform for sharing. As the group of 195 was too large, Sr Helena asked the women to divide up into groups representing their different neighbourhoods: eleven groups were formed.

Sr Helena subsequently asked each new Pan-African Conciliation Team (PACT) to select a PACT-Enabler, and thus they had their first PACT meetings then and there. The women left the meeting singing and dancing, with the common feeling that there is something they can do to bring about peace.

The DPI Nigeria Country Coordinating Team will arrange to meet with the eleven new PACT-Enablers in about one month, to ascertain how far they have come, and where they would like to go from here.

This meeting was, as Sr Helena notes, “… one of those extraordinary gatherings... it was all in Hausa and one man - I don't know where he came from, was wonderful at interpreting...”

Godwin, the man who had organised both the DPI Nigeria football tournament and this meeting, “… was surprised as he only invited about 20 women, but when others heard about it, they wanted to come along...”

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