Enhancing the capacity of women leaders of community organisations to contribute towards peacebuilding in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria

This report documents the processes and outcomes of a needs assessment carried out with women in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria between the 12th and 20th of July 2002.

The Niger Delta region has been subject to a three-pronged conflict between communities, oil companies and the Nigerian government, as well as facing conflict within communities. The work of the needs assessment was carried out as part of International Alert’s project ‘Enhancing the Capacity of Women Leaders of Community Organisations to Contribute Towards Peace Building in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria’, and forms part of International Alert’s strategy to support civil society groups in resolving conflicts. The principle objective of the project is to build the capacity of women leaders in the Niger Delta to enable them to contribute towards a non-violent resolution and transformation of conflict.

The needs assessment was conducted by a team of three women trainers, and was carried out in six states in the Niger Delta region. Through participatory, gender-perspective consultation, the assessment succeeded in gathering information for the design of an appropriate capacity building strategy, using women as a strategic focus group. The experience highlighted the critical potential of women as an organised force to achieve change in the Niger Delta region.

By the end of the assessment, through the use of questionnaires and extensive discussion, the women participants identified several economic, social, ethnic, environmental and developmental issues as key challenges to their progress as women leaders and peace builders.