02/24/2015, 00.00
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A Nigerian pastor and activist for women's rights awarded 32nd Niwano Peace Prize

Esther Abimiku Ibanga founded the "Women Without Walls Initiative" to end the violence and the unjustified killing of women and children in Plateau State, Nigeria. The organization has become a strong coalition of women's groups beyond ethnic and religious divisions and is the first to have among its members, women leaders from all tribal groups, including Christian and Muslim.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Esther Abimiku Ibanga, pastor and activist for women's rights in Nigeria is the winner of the 32nd Niwano Peace Prize for her "service to humanity in the search for a peaceful coexistence." The International Selection Committee and the Niwano Peace Foundation emphasize that her activism " has not only touched the lives of thousands but has founded and leads an organization that will impact thousands more".

In March of 2010 Esther Abimiku Ibanga  founded the "Women Without Walls Initiative" (WOWWI), born from the desire to put an end to violence and unjustified killings of women and children in Plateau State, Nigeria.

Since its origin, the organization has become a strong coalition of women's groups beyond ethnic and religious divisions and is the first to have among its members, women leaders from all tribal groups, including Christian and Muslim.

The organization's vision wants to develop an inclusive approach and creative non-violent conflict resolution for the transformation of Nigeria through women. To this end, it seeks, among other things, to form a strong coalition of women's groups at national and international level, beyond any division, to raise awareness of the important role of women in peace building. In fact, in most conflicts in Africa, including Nigeria, women and children suffer the worst consequences. At the same time, as mothers, women are the first educators of the human race. In this context, the work of Ibanga aims to promote and exploit the potential of women as peacemakers, recognizing that women can have a powerful influence in the lives of men (fathers, brothers, husbands and sons).

To achieve its goals and objectives, Women Without Walls Initiative, under the leadership of Pastor Ibanga has taken steps to increase the role of women through education, skills building  and micro finance. She was also one of the most active religious leaders in condemning the Boko Haram kidnapping in her country of origin. She organized protest marches and has tirelessly called on government officials and politicians to address the issue of the mistreatment and abuse of women, echoing the voices of mothers and positive religious leaders against the warlords "who use religion to mobilize young people to commit violence to satisfy their selfish motives. "

"Women Without Walls Initiative" is the first to introduce Police Community Dialogues as a way of building confidence and fostering trust between the communities and the police, in an attempt to counter terrorism. The organization has also collaborated with other peacebuilding actors in the state to carry out peace Carnivals and storytelling activities in primary and secondary schools on the Plateau providing a platform for children to express themselves and to also play an active role in peacebuilding, more importantly, to give young children a different picture of life from the war situation around them.

The organization has also represented women in international conferences and forums in various countries, including Rwanda, South Africa, Austria and the United States. Pastor Ibanga also presented a document to the UN on "Preventing and tackling violence and criminal atrocities against minorities."

 

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