Peace and Reconciliation
In a number of ways, Vision Africa supports Peace and Reconciliation efforts and programs throughout Nigeria and west Africa. Nigeria and other parts of west Africa are vibrant and complex parts of the world that enjoys growing opportunities for social and economic advancement. Yet, like many underdeveloped and developing countries, it struggles with deeply seated tensions that plague the country’s peace and stability. These struggles offer Vision Africa rich opportunities to promote Peace and Reconciliation in a variety of forms. Focusing on what you have in common with someone you are in conflict with and focusing on common challenges of both you and the group you are in conflict with, can often bring together groups that at first seemed irrevocably conflicted.
At the national level, Nigeria suffers historically and acutely from cultural divisions between the country’s predominantly Muslim north and the predominately Christian south. With the help of Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday has been instrumental and at the heart of the newly formed Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA). The work of NIFFA follows the model mentioned above and supports cooperation between communities that focus on common challenges related to improved health for all Nigerians. Christians and Muslims work together through NIFAA to address problems such as malaria, polio, and HIV/AIDS. Such collaboration directly addresses threats to health and human safety but also provides fertile ground for positive relationship building, and that paves the way for Peace and Reconciliation.
Nigeria’s oil producing region in the Niger Delta has long suffered instability, underdevelopment, and a pervasive sense of disenfranchisement. As the source of much of the country’s wealth, many people in the Niger Delta feel left behind and some have resorted to criminality and violence. Vision Africa Radio, Love 104.1, through its daily radio broadcasts and community outreach programs, brings hope and direct support to the hurting people of the Niger Delta. Vision Africa Radio is changing the lives, softening the hearts and building the Faith of those suffering and participating in such instability. Through community based health programs as well as radio programming offering messages about good governance, healthy lifestyles, and quality news broadcasts, Vision Africa is uniquely positioned to support regional Peace and Reconciliation efforts in this strategically critical part of the country. The Vision Africa Radio signal reaches a population of more than 20 million Nigerians (almost the same population as the State of Texas, the second most populace state in the United States).
Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha, President and founder of Vision Africa and Executive Director of NIFAA, is broadly respected as a leader with integrity and a dedicated servant of Peace and Reconciliation in Nigeria. Formerly an advisor to Nigerian President Obasanjo and more recently selected from among the country’s top faith leaders to lead NIFAA, Bishop Onuoha actively unites Nigeria’s faith communities to pursue common goals that unify the country. Now more than ever it is important that leaders like Bishop Onuoha and organizations like Vision Africa receive support, from both inside Nigeria and from the worldwide faith community. Vision Africa and its Vision Africa Radio provide that support!
Bishop Sunday has been raised up as a world leader for collaborative faith initiatives designed to tackle broad problems throughout Nigeria (and other parts of Africa). Amongst much more, he has spoken as key panelist at the George W. Bush Summit to Save Lives in Washington DC, as well as the Child Survival Event in 2012 with introduction by Hillary Clinton. He has been interviewed on PBS Ideas in Action and most recently asked to be key panelist for the United Nations Saving One Million Lives in Nigeria. In 2013 Bishop Sunday received the Global Peace Interfaith Leadership Award from the Global Peace Foundation for his efforts in advancing interfaith collaboration, humanitarian service and peace through Vision Africa.
In November 2014, about 40 delegates from all over the world converged in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the Global Peace Leadership Forum, and Bishop Sunday was one of the delegates invited to attend and speak at the Forum. The purpose of the Forum was to look at how cross-community engagement and the role of faith leaders in conflict resolution could bring about Peace in Nigeria and other areas of conflict around the world (by being in Belfast, they hoped to draw upon and be inspired by the experiences that led to the end of violence in Northern Ireland in 1998). In their deliberations, they worked alongside Co-Operation Ireland, the Skainos Project, the Clonard Monastery and its Reconciliation Mission. Bishop Sunday and his program of promoting the use of mosquito nets by both Muslims and Christians in Nigeria (a program that even today saves the lives of over 300,000 people every year) was recognized as having keyed into the kind of “peace building” and relevant interfaith initiatives that leads to success.
Bishop Sunday recently spoke at and participated in a meeting of UNICEF, USAID and World Vision in Washington D.C. on how faith communities can effectively bring attention to the health needs of the people of the world. Most recently, Bishop Sunday has been asked to moderate and speak at the World Bank co-hosted conference with USAID, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities on “Religion and Sustainable Development: Building Partnerships to End Extreme Poverty” in Washington D.C. on July 7-9, 2015
Earlier this year, Public service broadcasts on Vision Africa Radio promoted and led the Nigerian voters to peaceful and corruption free National Elections. In a close election process between a Christian Presidential Candidate and a Muslim Presidential Candidate, Vision Africa Radio broadcasts helped inform the people of Nigeria of the legitimate nature of the election and the pledge of both candidates to a peaceful outcome.
Bishop Sunday meeting with Muslim and other Religious Leaders to Promote Peace and Reconciliation between people of ALL FAITHS