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United States Spends $15 Million, Trains Over 46,000 In Dispute Resolution For North, Middle-Belt

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The director, U.S. Agency for International Development, Melissa Jones.
The director, U.S. Agency for International Development, Melissa Jones.

The United States and Nigeria have collaborated to address and mitigate conflict drivers in northern and middle-belt Nigeria, including ethnic, regional and sectarian tensions across communities.

Over the past five years, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested $15 million in the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) programme. This initiative has trained more than 46,000 community members, including traditional leaders, women, men and youth, in six states – Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi and Plateau – on skills such as dispute resolution, early warning and early response, reconciliation efforts and prevention of violent extremism.

The CIPP program has helped mitigate violent conflict in at-risk communities and engaged women and youth in peace processes. A randomised control trial, which compared how the activity worked in its target communities with nearby communities that did not receive any interventions, showed that despite the overall increase in violence in Plateau, Benue and other states, violent conflict was lower in communities where USAID worked. For instance, after four years of implementation, the study showed that only 29 per cent of CIPP treatment communities experienced violent incidents, compared to 55 per cent in control communities – a difference of 26 per cent.

“The CIPP activity has shown that a timely investment in peace can yield remarkable dividends,” said USAID Mission director, Melissa A. Jones at yesterday’s ceremony. “Individuals trained in conflict mediation skills across Nigeria’s Middle Belt helped resolve hundreds of disputes before they escalated further,” she added.

As part of its closeout plan, USAID will transfer some of CIPP’s community structures, such as conflict mitigation regional councils and women peace councils, to its new Peace Action for Rapid and Transformative Nigerian Early Response activity. This will ensure continuity and sustained progress in our shared mission to promote peace and security in the northern and middle-belt regions.

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