Fatima Madaki Abubakar
Founder, Education & Sustainable Livelihood Youth Initiative
Fatima Madaki has more than 12 years of experience in a multi-organizational context, with partners, stakeholders and clients in the area of youth, education, gender, leadership, economic empowerment, peacebuilding, conflict management and research. She currently works with Search for Common Ground Nigeria as a senior project coordinator, implementing and managing peacebuilding programs in the Northeast region of Nigeria focusing on human rights. She previously managed the project, ‘Building Consensus on the Protection of Holy Sites,’ an interfaith peacebuilding project promoting the protection of holy sites from destruction and desecration in northern Nigeria.
Fatima is the founder of the Education & Sustainable Livelihood Youth Initiative (ESLYI), a not-for-profit organization that promotes youth engagement in peacebuilding, education, and enterprise development. Her interests are in supporting women-led peace initiatives to promote religious tolerance, inclusion and social cohesion through dialogue, field visits, conferences and seminars. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a certificate in civic leadership from Rutgers University, New Jersey, and is a Fellow of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Generation Change Program. She believes that building a network of empowered citizens would transform systems and societies through leadership and enterprise with an emphasis on developing capacity in strategic analysis, planning, program development, implementation and management for early stage leaders, social enterprises and those looking to grow.
Fatima strongly believes in collaborative action and providing a safe space for dialogue and interaction in such a way that dignifies everyone, thus… “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the absolute tool that you have for sure” – Oprah Winfrey and “Try to open the space to hear the truth even if it is depressing and cynical” – Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
Building Consensus on the Protection of Holy Sites through the Common Ground Approach
Nigeria is among the most religious countries in the world, with roughly even numbers of Christians and Muslims. Interreligious violence is perceived as a major threat often dovetailing into ethnic, political and economic divides. Nigeria’s Northern Region has seen dramatic scenes of interreligious violence resulting in riots, killings and the destruction of property, including attacks specifically targeting holy sites and places of worship. The destruction of places of worship deepens a symbolic dimension to the conflict and feeds into extremist narratives, affects communities at the core of their identity, and reinforces community trauma.
The care and protection of holy sites can be an entry point for interreligious dialogue, undermining the extremist narratives and designing peacebuilding activities that endure change. Beginning efforts for a regional dialogue among high-level faith leaders on the protection these sites can be an initial point of common interest and start laying the groundwork for increased collaboration between them through series of training and workshops to promote the principles of dialogue. The plan is to focus more intentionally on durable and enduring change – linked to institutions, social norms and equipping religious leaders to design for and continuously reflect the goal of enduring change through the common ground approach.
Enhancing IRD and SDG’s Youth Engagement
The enhancing IRD and SDG’s Youth Engagement project aims to train young people in inter-religious dialogue and SDG advocacy to enable young people to document and tell stories of interfaith peacebuilding while advocating for the SDG’s 16, 4 and 5 at community level and to mobilize Muslim and Christian social media influencers, photographers and videographers to jointly counter violent rhetoric through positive public messages of religious pluralism and respect of human rights with expected results of improved and positive collaboration and interfaith tolerance at the community level, and increased platforms and media coverage available for conversations that challenge violent narratives and promote tolerance and positive perception of other faiths while addressing the SDG’s.