Jan. 10 OWL Global Wisdom Circle: Usman Mohammed Inuwa
|Global citizens everywhere, supporting a course change for humanity by supporting each other.|
Making Peace in Nigeria
|Usman Mohammed Inuwa is an environmental peace activist and social innovator who connects the dots on multiple issues that affect people’s lives where he lives and works in Bauchi State in north-eastern Nigeria. He facilitates dialogues in communities where there is violent conflict between warring Muslims and Christians.|
Usman’s Opening Presentation
More about Usman Mohammed Inuwa
Since 2009 Usman has partnered with Len and Libby Traubman on dialogue projects in Nigeria that include:
New Muslim-Christian Interfaith Dialogue
Dialogue for Relationships & Sustainable Farming
Growing Food, Building Relationships ~ Bauchi State, Nigeria
Youth Interfaith Golden Rule Training
Muslim-Christian Climate Change Education
Usman currently works as a project supervisor at Ehealth Africa. He holds a B.S. in Zoology from Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. He has done multi-disciplinary work in aids prevention, women’s health and women’s empowerment, environment and food sustainability, and inter-faith peace-making, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNESCO, and several NGOs.
Usman was born in 1979 into a Muslim family as one of 17 children. His father decided to adopt two young Christian girls. The impact of that experience helped steer Usman onto his current path. He lives today as a devout Muslim with his wife and their three young children.
Thank you, again Usman for your inspiring work in peacemaking. And thank you to everyone for all I learned by being in circle with you.
My question for Usman: Since my background is in health care as a nurse practitioner, I am wondering how your work in health care may have contributed to your peacekeeping work. Is there a connection between these two aspects of your life?
Interesting question by Wendy there! I want to say that the work I do are very much connected, I mean, 1. peace-keeping, 2. environment/climate change and 3. quality health care service delivery with special focus on pregnant women and children. I have been using the last two (Climate Change and Health issues) as entry points to bringing people together to face common issues affecting them as well as softener for differences and misunderstandings that exist between people of different religions and cultural backgrounds. I remember a time when I brought Muslims and Christians mothers together to sensitize them on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding of their children as well as practicing modern family planning method for the well-being of the family as whole. I brought a Pastor and an Islamic Imam who shared what their holy scriptures says about that and how peaceful coexistence can play role in ensuring they mutually learn from each other. The women became friends which ultimately radiated to including their husbands in the discussion who hitherto did not see a single thing that was common to them both. So, in the course of my health care work which is majorly in health communications I saw a tremendous contributions that helps built lasting relationships among people of different faiths, tribes and cultures.
Available to clarify more if need be, please.
Thank you Usman for this reply to Wendy. What I learn about peace-making from your comments: 1) the power of organizing conversations and actions around areas of mutual concern, such as health care, childbirth and the environment; 2) the power of involving women to build bridges. 🙂
Sure Aryae, what I also saw missing in our daily efforts to end conflicts is our consistent removable of women in the peace building equation in northern Nigeria. However, I have many practical experiences that proved the key important roles of women as softeners of discordant, and tension between Muslims and Christians.
Question for Usman: I am wondering if there are any possibilities to create dialogue with members of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Especially with younger people.
Yes, the terrorist groups that came into being as the result of extreme poverty, illiteracy, family issues/neglect and those with political inclination dialogues has been on and is yielding fruitful results but those that are affiliated to a cause or some certain ideology is not feasible for now because of its extreme and dangerous nature.
Usman, to what extent do men and women communicate beyond their traditional practices based on traditional roles?
Bonita, I have been an advocate for gender equality and women empowerment and at FACIS we work with women to empower less-privileged and uneducated women and young girls socially, economically. I wrote a book which I titled “Perspective on Tailoring Service as a Career for Women Development” and so many women benefited from it.
In northern Nigeria a woman is trained to always agree to the decision made by her husband even if its to her disadvantage as such communication between couples play less role.
However, with continues sensitization and awareness creation the situation is gradually changing (not to appreciable level though) where in some areas and some homes women are beginning to have listening ears.
We formed 323 village development associations from the 323 political wards in Bauchi State where I live and we made it mandatory that for an associations to function effectively 30% of the association must be women and at least one out of the three key leadership positions of either Chairman, Secretary or Treasurer must be occupied by a lady. Now, with this strategy women communicates beyond traditional ways to expressing their views on burning issues at least within the groups which comprises of men, religious and community leaders
Hello, Everyone, and thanks for a vastly educational Wisdom Circle with Usman yesterday morning (1/10/16).
It is energizing and inspiring for me to unite with like-minded, peace-making souls. My greatest takeaway was the comments about the importance “deep listening” in order to make peace, especially with anyone that we consider as “the other.”
My personal interpretaion: When I am in dialogue with another person, I must surrender to the present moment, open (indeed, to surrender) in giving my full attention to the speaker as I suspend any judgement or any personal agenda — and to trust that when I speak, that I will be heard with the same intention.
This is something that I never really learned growing up in my birth family. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn it now!
Another thing that I learned is how little I know about the African continent and in particular about Nigeria’s culture, history and politics. (Sometimes I feel that complacent Americans — and I include myself here — may be the worst geography students on the planet!)
My question to Usman about the Boko Haram terrorists led me to explore some answers for myself. Here’s a good, thorough article on that topic:
My this new year bring peace in the world — and peace in our hearts!
Good to read your comment. I can relate to growing up in a family where listening was not our strong suit! 🙂
And it is wonderful that we get to practice with each other!
1. Opening check-ins
2. Usman Mohammed Inuwa presentation
3. Libby & Len Traubman respond. Usman shares question for the group
4. Bonita Banducci, Kay Sandberg, James Offuh, Zilong Wang, Dan Howard
5. Opata Chibueze, Aryae, Wendy Berk, Dinesh Chandra, Bill Goldberg, Libby, Len
6. Usman, further reflections
7. Closing check-ins