Stakeholders Float Lake Chad Civil Society Network

Civil Society organisations in the region affected by prolonged conflict and humanitarian crisis have launched a network to promote participation and collaboration.

Local and international stakeholders on Thursday, June 25, 2021, discussed the contribution and strengthening of civil society organisations’ participation in facilitating reintegration and the stabilisation efforts of the Lake Chad region. 

The over a decade long insurgency in the region comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad has caused a severe humanitarian crisis, resulting in the death of at least 35,000 people, displacing an estimated 2.5 million people, and leaving more than 10 million people in need of protection.

The discussion in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, was part of the unveiling of Lake Chad Civil Society Organisation Network for Inclusive Rehabilitation and Reintegration, co-hosted by Neem Foundation and Elman Peace Centre, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Over the years, Neem Foundation has worked around supporting the victims of the violent insurgency in Northeast Nigeria, particularly with psychological and psychosocial support.

In Somalia, the Elman Peace Centre based in Mogadishu, the capital, works towards promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and supporting victims of violence in the country. 

The network is expected to improve collaboration and networking between organisations and other stakeholders assisting recovery, reintegration and resilience in the Lake Chad Basin.

During his remarks, Mohamed Yahya,  the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria spoke on civil society participation and the importance of livelihoods integration in the stabilisation process in the region.

“I know the commitment and dedication civil society has in finding solutions to difficult issues such as violent extremism,” Yahya said.

The event which brought civil society organisations together also included a diverse panel and discussions moderated by Ilwad Elman, the chief operating officer of Elman Peace Centre and Mustapha Alhassan, the Programme Manager at Neem Foundation. 

The diverse panellists discussed the contributions of civil society organisations to disarmament, reconciliation, rehabilitation and reintegration as well as international support for actors. 

Elman also highlighted the journey of the Lake Chad Civil Society Organisation Inclusive Reintegration Network beginning in 2018 in Kigali with eight founding members.

Civil society organisations are an integral part of the process of multi-level regional stabilisation efforts and provision of humanitarian assistance and key interventions for early recovery and long-term resilience.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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