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

 

 

Workshop for PACT-Enablers in Dadin Kowa

24 June 2009

Workshop for PACT-Enablers in Dadin Kowa



Sr Helena with participants at the Dadin Kowa PACT-Enablers' workshop.

DPI Nigeria held a workshop for PACT-Enablers at Little Jewels Private School, Dadin Kowa between 5th – 6th June 2009, which was planned for 25 – 30 persons, however, 42 turned up. Some of the participants came to see what DPI was about, and to see if it was possibility to begin PACTs in their communities. However, there is still much suspicion in Jos following the November 2008 crisis.

The group was mixed, with young and old, Christians and Muslims attending. Many had never attended a workshop on peace before, and some shared their anxieties and reservations about sharing openly. 

Beginning with a showing of Mother Africa, a general discussion followed, in which the challenges, hopes, needs, etc., of the people were given. However, it was only after some encouragement did people feel sufficiently free to share openly. 

Maji Peterx of the DPI Nigeria Country Coordinating Team shared on peace in terms of the history of Nigeria, a country not known as it is now until 1914, where prior to this Muslims and Christians both shared the same lands. 

The participants subsequently developed their own definition of peace, emphasizing both understanding and acceptance as the ways forward for true peace to emerge. Further sessions were on non-violent communication skills, prejudices and perceptions (which included looking at how one views Muslims, Christians, people with HIV, women, etc.), as well as the four Franciscan values of living in right relationships, harmony, reconciliation, and care for creation. In telling the story of Saint Francis and the Sultan, the differences between the two men and the values they shared in common were also pointed out: Differences: Muslim – Christian, Arabic – Italian, cultures, continents, rich-poor, powerful – insignificant, influential – non influential, personalities, and Values: They both were men who prayed to their God, both understood their own religion to be a religion of peace and they used their religion to bring them together and to struggle for peace. Finally, there was an explanation of PACTs, and the participants readily agreed that the concept of DPI could work in their areas. / A follow up meeting has been planned for two months time.
 

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