The latest Niwano Peace Prize which aims to “honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to interreligious cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace” was awarded to the Nigerian Esther Abimiku Ibanga, a Protestant pastor who in 2010 founded Women Without Walls Initiative (WOWWI). The WOWWI – established with the intention of putting an end to the assassination of women and babies in the Nigerian state of Plateau – soon became a strong coalition of women who work together regardless of ethnic and religious divisions. The result is almost historic: it is in fact the first organization whose management team consists of the participation of exponents of every tribal group, including Christian and Muslim leaders. Esther Abimiku Ibanga is aiming high: underlining the female role for building peace – a subject that is particularly urgent in the regions of Nigeria in which the Boko Haram terrorists are active – the foundress has given life to practical initiatives. They aim, for example, to increase women’s skills linked to micro finance and, through “community dialogue with the police” to diminish distances and increase trust between the communities and the forces of order to defeat terrorism.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 17, 2019
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