Setting the pace for conflict resolution and paving the way for other women: Adama's story

A person smiling for the camera.
"Despite the challenges, I was determined to make a difference." – Adama, championing conflict resolution in her community with the help of Mercy Corps training.
March 05, 2024

Our forefathers utilized some of these techniques to resolve conflict. Growing up, I witnessed the women in my family effectively resolve disputes. Now, I am following in their footsteps and aspire to be a beacon of hope for young women in Bokkos who view mediation as solely a man's responsibility.

Mallama Adama Nuhu, Community Peace Observer

Daffo, a community located in Plateau State, has long been plagued by conflicts between farmers and herders, leading to tensions and disputes. Recognizing the need for peacebuilding, the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) program, implemented by Mercy Corps Nigeria, identified Daffo as a target community in Bokkos Local Government Area.

Mallama Adama Nuhu, a 46-year-old grandmother of 12 children and teacher at an all-female school is a respected figure in the Daffo community who has taken it upon herself to address the prevailing issues. In addition to her teaching role, she passionately preaches in her free time and serves as the Fulani Women Leader in her community.

Adama was among the community members who participated in a 3-day training program on Interest-Based Negotiation and Mediation (IBN+M) organized by CIPP with funding support from USAID. The training aimed to empower communities to resolve disputes between farmers and herders. This is done through a mediation process that uses seven (7) elements of IBN+M that is: communication, interest, options, relationship, alternatives, legitimacy and commitment.

This is aimed at preserving the relationship that exists between the disputants even after the dispute has been resolved, as opposed to conventional litigation. Also, with the preservation of relationships, community cohesion will be ensured which will drastically reduce the degeneration of disputes into violent confrontations.

Having participated in the training, Adama was faced with the daunting challenge of breaking the gender stereotype that existed in her community and gaining support and acceptance to mediate between farmers and herders, being a woman.

She says, “After the training, I knew that my task would be difficult because female mediators rarely mediate between farmers and herders due to the cultural dynamics of my community. We only deal with gender-based violence and other domestic issues, but I was determined to make a difference.” Says Nuhu.

Community peace observers sitting together.
Breaking barriers and building bridges. Adama sits with peace observers in Daffo, fostering collaboration and sustainable solutions thanks to her Mercy Corps mediation training.

Equipped with the knowledge and skills gained from the Interest-Based Negotiation and Mediation (IBN+M) training, Adama established a local committee consisting of youth leaders representing all tribes in her community. This committee acted as a watchdog, monitoring and preventing illegal grazing activities by herders along agreed cattle routes in Daffo. To ensure the effectiveness of the committee, Adama fostered close collaboration with Fulani tribal leaders, farmers, and religious figures.

Adama actively participated in meetings with other male mediators, enabling her to stay informed about emerging issues in her community. These meetings served as opportunities for mediators to exchange techniques and skills, which they could then apply in resolving disputes.

By engaging community and youth leaders in various CIPP activities, Adama and other women were able to gain support from male leadership in Daffo, thereby increasing women's involvement in peacebuilding initiatives across the state.

Adama explains, "Both farmers and herders report cases of trespassing, and we help them find common ground. My neutrality, combined with the seven elements of mediation I learned during the CIPP training, and my extensive knowledge of Islamic principles of dialogue, gives me an advantage. I always apply my skills and techniques when resolving disputes among conflicting parties. The outcomes of my mediations are accepted by all parties involved. It has been a transformative experience for me, although at times challenging, especially when conflicting parties disagree with the resolution. In such cases, I seek assistance from other trained mediators in my community. Together, we find solutions and successfully resolve the issues at hand."

Through her determination, skill development, and collaboration with diverse stakeholders, Adama has made a positive impact in resolving the farmers-herders conflict in Daffo community. Adama’s story underscores the importance of empowering women mediators and highlights the transformative potential they possess in creating sustainable peace within communities.

About CIPP

Mercy Corps is implementing the Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP), a five-year peacebuilding program funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

CIPP’s aim is to prevent violent conflict in the most at-risk communities across Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau, Kogi, Kano and Benue states in Nigeria’s North-West and Middle Belt regions. CIPP works with community leaders, women, government officials, and state-level actors to improve their ability to peacefully manage disputes.

CIPP also works to strengthen Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) mechanisms for timely response to violent conflict, and facilitate collaboration among communities with government agencies, civil service organizations, and local leaders to address root causes of conflict.

CIPP is implemented in partnership with Pastoral Resolve (PARE), Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC), Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD), Social Justice and Human Development for Peace Initiative (JDPC), and the African Radio Drama Association (ARDA)


Sani Suleman | Chief of Party, CIPP | Mercy Corps Nigeria

Amina Bello | Deputy Chief of Party CIPP | Mercy Corps