My name is Winifred and I am from Nigeria. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the short-term intern at the World YWCA in Geneva. I have been privileged to witness this year’s Geneva Peace Week as I completed my two week internship. Wow!!! It has been a really great and impactful experience for me. The opportunity to meet different organizations whose sole aim is to actualise peace all over the globe, and the ability to include women at vital issues like this have been the most interesting parts of my visit.
Attaining peace has been a focal point in the world`s development space, and I know that within us as young women in Nigeria, we yearn for it, but are held back and face many barriers that hold back our voices. As women, we are the primary victims of conflict. My challenge to you is that “Would you shut up and let your children become victims or will join me to raise voices on this matter?” As for me, I can’t shut up but I would rather
- Speak for the sexually abused and those who are victims of gender based violence THAT screaming means no, crying means no, drunken means no, drugged means no, pushing away means no, innocence means no, fear or stop it equally means no, and I call up each and every young woman to look after herself and young ones alike.
- Speak against social norms, beliefs and values that uphold gender inequality in the work sector THAT women have the power to create resources for the stability of the economy and should be involved in all walks of life; therefore, equal opportunities should be given in societal positions.
- Speak against having more children than you can take care of, which leads to illiteracy, thuggery, prostitution and child marriage. THAT women and men should be educated on birth control measures in order to reduce these risks for a peaceful society.
Right now, I will raise my voice higher to the power of diversity.Yes! We are from different tribal and cultural groups yet one fatherland. We can never go forward by dwelling on the past nor achieve great heights in chaos. Let’s say no to conflicts and fight!
I want to hear that NO louder. YES, come out of your hiding place mothers and powerful young women of Nigeria, sit your grandfathers, fathers, sons and brothers down and talk them into quitting, violence, fighting and quarreling.
We shouldn’t wait for other countries to do that for us because we own that role of peace and conflict resolutions. Diversity is our strength. Having brothers from different tribal wombs is our identity. So, let us watch after our brothers and sisters. As for me, I will advocate for the celebration of diversity irrespective of our civilization and cultural differences, I believe in one Nigeria and peace is starting from me from this very moment.
By Winifred Nnamdi
From YWCA of Nigeria