Dozens of Women in Nigeria Complete Training to Foster Religious Tolerance

The CD GPF Nigeria Rev.John Joseph Hayab presenting a Book Titled "Korean Dream" to the Facilitator Mr.Austin Anyio. Credit: Global Peace Foundation Nigeria

A group of at least 100 Christian and Muslim women drawn from Nigeria’s Plateau State have completed a financial literacy training that the Global Peace Foundation Nigeria (GPFN) organized to foster religious tolerance in the region.

Rev. John Joseph Hayab, the Director of the American-based entity who also serves as the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State said the initiative was part of the foundation’s peace-building process of uniting people across religious divides.

“Our mission at GPFN has always been centered around the noble goal of fostering unity, understanding, and ultimately, peace within communities,” Rev. Hayab said during the presentation of a N500,000 (USD 578) grant to the women to enable them to establish businesses.

In a report following the presentation of the grant to the women, the official of CAN that involves representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said the training also “aimed to promote social cohesion and religious tolerance.”

“Today, I am delighted to witness the fruits of our collective efforts as we come together to execute a community service project that signifies not only progress but a profound commitment to building lasting bonds among us,” Rev. Hayab said in the Thursday, January 18 report.


He added, “Suffice to mention that for us at the GPFN, building these bonds hinges on our collective understanding that as human beings, we are members of One Family under God.”

 “Seeing each other from the lenses of our shared ancestral roots would no doubt influence our actions and inactions toward one another, irrespective of tribe, creed, or religion,” he said following the training that was done in collaboration with the Christian, Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria (CRUDAN).

Rev. Hayab said that the motivation behind the training initiative goes beyond the mere act of charity as it seeks to unite the community thereby enhancing working relationships by fortifying the fabric of social cohesion that unites the people.

Over the years, Nigeria’s Plateau State has been experiencing attacks by gunmen and terrorists and even clashes between farmers and herders, leading to the death of people in communities. Most of these attacks are attributed to religious divisions.

According to a December 27 report, nearly 200 Christians were killed in an attack on villages in the central Nigerian state of Plateau on Christmas Eve.

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In the January 18 report, Rev. Hayab said, “The unfortunate incident on Christmas Eve wakes us up to the need to continue to increase the voice of women and peacebuilding.”

He said the communities of Rahwol Kanan and Angwan Doki, both of Jos South Local Government Area (LGA) were chosen for the initiative because they have been hit hard by the crises in the State.

“When we came and started a conversation with the communities, we discovered that one of the causes of conflict was the poverty line. So we introduced economic empowerment,” he said.

He added, “We have done a program that we call financial literacy for women’s skill acquisition and building their capacities on how to manage businesses.”

On his part, the Northern Coordinator of the Foundation, Alhaji Halilu Maraya, said, “If adherents of the two major religions abide by the teachings of their faiths, there will not be any crisis because both religions teach respect for humanity.”


“If we realize that we are all members of one human family, regardless of any social difference, there wouldn’t be any sectarian crisis, we were all created by the Almighty God,” Mr. Maraya said

He added, “If the Almighty God had wanted all of us to be one religion, all of us could have been. Therefore, we must love one another regardless of religion.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.