PEACE AS A CATALYST FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
The frequency at which violent conflicts, political instability, war, and other situations of insecurity are happening, in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia, has threatened the security, economic growth, development, as well as the democracy of these countries. On the other hand, countries like Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia that have been ranked as the leading peaceful countries in the world have continued to enjoy economic growth, unity, law, and order that has resulted in significant democratic change in these countries. Considering this one begins to wonder whether peace can serve as a catalyst for democratic change.
Given the above, and with the realization that the development/growth rate of countries enjoying relative peace as opposed to countries afflicted by conflict is widening day by day, it is therefore paramount that peace should not be taken for granted. Yes, indeed, achieving sustainable peace and democracy does not come easy, but we all need to continue to advocate and support peace as it has been demonstrated that it can be a strong catalyst that brings about democratic change. World leaders such as (Martin Luther King Jr, Dalai Lama) and great organizations (such as the United Nations, Partners West Africa Nigeria) are continuously fighting for peace at international and regional levels to be maintained by supporting peacebuilding interventions/programs that would stimulate democratic change, as well as aid in the development of nations.
Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN) as one of its ongoing interventions has been supporting women to contribute to peace and public safety efforts in Northeastern Nigeria, through a Mixed Observer Team (MOT) which comprises of only women civilians and women from the security sector. The MOT’s role is to prevent and respond to issues affecting women and girls, thus creating a peaceful and safe space for all in the community.
With Nigeria’s low ranking as the 8th least peaceful country in Africa and the understanding that peace is essential for every nation’s development, you and I have a role to play in nurturing and promoting peace in every way we can. Furthermore, as we commemorate the International Day of Peace on the 21st of September, let us continue to advocate and become peace champions in our communities, country, and the world at large.