PEACECORE: Strengthening Capacities for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution between Farmers and Cattle Herders in Nigeria's Middle Belt

Full Solution
Signpost of Rehabilitated Infrastructure
GIZ PEACECORE

Plateau State in Nigeria is affected by various conflict lines that contribute to tensions and violent conflict: farmers and cattle herders compete over natural resources such as water and land. A variety of different cultural, religious and ethnic identities are represented in the project area.

PEACECORE project promotes peaceful coexistence, sustainable livelihoods and food security. We focus on peacebuilding through decentralised structures to mediate natural resource conflict; advocacy and dialogue processes are supported while trauma processing structures are developed. We address the interrelation of peaceful coexistence and economic empowerment among cattle herders and farmers. Farmers and herders are trained in various aspects of sustainable agricultural practice and animal health, cooperatives and associations are strengthened and established, value chains and livelihood diversified, as well as traditional trade mechanisms revived.

Last update: 17 Jan 2024
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Context
Challenges addressed
Drought
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Vector and water borne diseases
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Erosion
Ecosystem loss
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Physical resource extraction
Changes in socio-cultural context
Health
Lack of food security
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of technical capacity
Poor governance and participation
Social conflict and civil unrest
Unemployment / poverty

Environmental:

  • Climate change is a major issue, increased competion over water resources for farmers and herders and communities.
  • Increased population and extensive land use has increased pressure on available land resources often leading to violent conflict between farmers and herders.
  • Increased use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers have led to deteroriating land health and reduced yields.

Social:

  • The factors listed above have contributed to long standing, recurrent conflicts between farmers and herders and the deterioration of social and trade relationships. Lost trust in the state and government agencies to address the conflicts leading to wider social gaps.
  • Legal access to land is a challenge in these communities.

Economic:

  • High rates of poverty and unemployment also exist in targeted communities.
  • A lack of awareness of alternative skills and value chains, most of the population engage in subsistence farming, selling primary agricultural products.
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
National
Ecosystems
Agroforestry
Cropland
Orchard
Rangeland / Pasture
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Tropical grassland, savanna, shrubland
Theme
Adaptation
Gender mainstreaming
Legal & policy frameworks
Food security
Health and human wellbeing
Peace and human security
Sustainable livelihoods
Infrastructure maintenance
Indigenous people
Local actors
Traditional knowledge
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Watershed management
One Health
Outreach & communications
Agriculture
Water provision and management
Renewable energies
Location
Wase, Plateau, Nigeria
Mangu, Plateau, Nigeria
Shendam, Plateau, Nigeria
Riyom, Plateau, Nigeria
Bokkos, Plateau, Nigeria
Bassa, Plateau, Nigeria
West and Central Africa
Process
Summary of the process

 

The dialogue formats of CPAF and PFIM help the project to identify the priority needs and challenges of the communities as well as offering probable solutions to them. One one hand livelihood projects and connector livelihood-support projects can be identified through these community engagements. On the other hand, the joint trade and exchange activities in the livelihood block offer more avenues for constructive dialogue. Through both tracks, the resilience of participants and communities is supported, so that they are better equipped to deal with conflicts through mediation and peaceful resolution.

Building Blocks
Decentralized Community Dialogue Platforms

The project has brought conflicting parties using platforms such as the Community Peace Architecture Forum CPAF and the People First Impact Method P-FIM. This approach has succeeded in bringing people at the community level together to discuss and resolve their issues at the local level using community driven solutions. Communities have been able to resolve disputes arising through mediation of the CPAF and articulate their needs, and goals through P-FIM. All of which have helped the project to design and deliver on its objectives with the buy in of local communities.

Enabling factors

1. Involvement of local actors, stakeholders and capacities for peacebuilding.

2. Creating a safe space for dialogue and discussions.

3. Strengthening the capacities of local civil society organizations familiar with the communities and trusted by them to better implement.

4. Decentralised strategy.

5. Empowering structures to mediate directly in conflict, with links to relevant authorities.

Lesson learned

1. Mediation is easier at local levels where the conflicts occur, than through centralized strctures which might be more cumbersome and present generalized solutions which might not be adequate to local challenges.

2. Communities have capacities for resolving conflicts and addressing their developmental issues by themselves. These should be identified and supported over external solutions as they are often more sustainable.

3. Bottom to top approaches are more effective than top to bottom approaches.

4. Decentraization of dialogue structures at community level, reduces the logistics of conducting such dialogues and encourages their continuation after projects exit.

Integrated Approaches to Peacebuilding Through Joint Livelihoods

The PEACECORE project uses sustainable, climate conscious livelihood support as a tool to restore traditional, and create new, trade and exchange opportunities for farmers and herders in 6 Local Government Areas of Plateau State, Nigeria. The aim is to replace negative conflict behaviors with mutually beneficial economic relations, while mediation and dialogue also supported through the first building block. Participants from communities affected by conflict have been brought together and trained across various organic agricultural and dairy value chain opportunities, cooperative formation and operation, and conflict resolution. Through such efforts we have been able to bring together conflicting livelihood groups of farmers and herders to establish trade agreements and form cooperatives around value chains including organic fertilizer supply, supply of cow dung and crop waste for briquette production, fodder and forage production, dairy and tofu production etc.

Enabling factors
  1. The selection of value chains that are beneficial to both parties such as fodder production, organic fertilizer.
  2. Strong reputation of GIZ in implementation of agricultural and development programmes meant participants were willing to trust the process.
  3. Willingness of conflicting partners to find solutions to the conflict.
  4. Availability of resources for the project and initiatives such as technical skills and equipment, financing etc meant that participants could create tangible structures and operations.
Lesson learned
  1. Trust building is essential as well as involving participants across all stages of project interventions.
  2. Adding value to existing business and products is a useful first step to engagement.
  3. New ideas and processes are welcome as long as the benefits can be perceived.
  4. Using connectors (things that both parties need in common) is essential.
Impacts

PEACECORE has reached nearly 20,000 direct beneficiaries. 3,000 farmer and herder households received agricultural or livestock support, including vaccination and animal health programs, and 700 households supported in generating income. 5,300 farmers and herders trained on climate smart agriculture and eco-friendly income generation. Local capacities strengthened in selected conflict- ridden communities through pilot projects to establish organic and niche value chains such as bee-keeping, chili sauce, soil regeneration, fodder, the millet acha (fonio), briquettes, cheese and soya. Over 5 Community Cooperatives have been established through these efforts. 600 individuals pursued additional income opportunities through cash for work and basic vocational trainings to 500 youths provided. 100 mediators trained in community based collaborative dispute resolution. Decentralized dialogue forums established to encourage local contributions to peacebuilding. Through these over 50 disputes over natural resources have been resolved. Additionally, 12 psychologists and 30 lay persons were trained to provide trauma processing referral structures and 66 children received trauma processing assistance.  300 households received counselling support on matters of land rights amongst which approximately 100 households were offered legal counselling.

Beneficiaries

Our beneficiaries include:

  • Farmers
  • Herders
  • Women in target communities
  • Children affected by trauma
  • Layhelpers
  • Trained Mediators
  • Government agencies like the PPBA
  • Community stakeholders
  • Agricultural cooperatives
  • Local consultants, suppliers and vendors
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Story
YARAC
Farmers and herders in Ancha Community making hay and silage with their harvested congo grass
YARAC

Ancha Community Congo Grass Farm: A Success Story

Ancha Community is in Zobwo Ward of Bassa Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State, Nigeria. It is one of the communities in the LGA that experienced violent farmer-herder conflict with loss of many lives and properties in recent years (especially between 2019 and 2022).  

The GIZ-PEACECORE project partnered with Youth Adolescent, Reflection and Action Center (YARAC), a local civil society organisation, to implement peacebuilding and livelihood activities that encouraged peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders in three (3) communities of Bassa LGA which Ancha Community is one of them. The project brought together the conflicting parties (farmers and herders) under one cooperative to carry out farming activities. In 2022/2023, the cooperative, under the guidance and training of YARAC, cultivated Congo grass and Mucuna beans (see video and pictures) as well as maize. The Congo grass and Mucuna beans are of great value to both the farmers and the herders as economic crops that are of great nutritional value to livestock.