Part of the community: Musaram Baba’s story
“I was there when the insurgents attacked. When my husband would return home, his clothes would sometimes be stained with blood,” Musaram Baba* tells us.
“My children would ask questions that I barely had answers to. Two years later I discovered my husband’s real identity, he was arrested and taken to prison. I lived with guilt, had sleepless nights and could not stop asking why this should happen to me and my kids.” Musaram Baba discovered her husband was a member of Boko Haram. After his verdict she moved to Shehuri host community where she now lives with her four children.
“Boko Haram wife”
“I was called a Boko Haram wife because people knew my story. My children would go out and return home crying because other parents stopped them from hanging around their children and would chase them away. I knew how these things were, I can’t explain how I felt.”
The first International Alert session I attended was the community dialogue and immediately I felt comforted. I went home to my kids, played with them and found ways to encourage them. That night we all slept in peace and we felt safe.
Accepted by the community
Musaram Baba also attended support session for women and girls around stigma reduction. Gradually, she started noticing the transformation in her emotional and social life. People in the community began to visit her apartment and started to include her in community activities – people started to care about her.
“A woman visited me one morning to apologise for judging me and saying many things to me. When I asked her why she apologised, she said she attended one of International Alert’s sessions the previous afternoon, it made her think about her actions and made her remorseful. This made me so happy. I don’t know if this makes sense, but International Alert has been my source of joy. They have impacted my life positively and I am so happy that I could take part in these life changing sessions.”
About the project
‘Supporting vulnerable communities and conflict-sensitive reintegration in northeast Nigeria’ was a project to help reintegrate survivors of sexual violence by Boko Haram as well as support people internally displaced by the conflict.
International Alert Nigeria worked in three camps for internally displaced people and one host community in Maiduguri, and another community in nearby Bama, to help those affected by the violence reintegrate back into society and move forward with their lives.
This included holding victim support and family dialogue sessions – especially women, girls and children, running public awareness campaigns on stigma reduction, and training local leaders on peacebuilding and non-violent conflict resolution.
Alert worked on this project with the following local partners: Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Health Care Development Focus Initiative (HECADF), Herwa Community Development Initiative.