The Nigerian Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), Dr. Rebecca Dali, has won the 2017 Sérgio Vieira de Mello award in recognition of her humanitarian services in the North-East, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The External Relations Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Nigeria, Mr Hanson Tamfu, told NAN on Tuesday in Abuja that the award ceremony would take place on Aug. 21 in Geneva during the celebration of this year’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
He said that the award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unnoticed efforts by individuals, groups and organisations “doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict’’.
Tamfu said that Dali was recognised because her centre was “at its best’’ in caring for women, children, and orphans, the most vulnerable populations in North-East, ravaged by seven years of insurgency.
He told NAN that the nomination letter for the award was co-signed by the Chairman and President of the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Award Foundation, Anne Willem Bijleveld and Laurent Vieira de Mello on July 16, 2017.
According to him, excerpts of the letter read, “The jury of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Award has decided to grant its 2017 Award to you.
“This is in recognition of the courageous efforts of you and the CCEPI to promote the re-integration of returning women abducted by the Boko Haram group back into their local communities.
“As the communities resisted their re-integration, your negotiation skills and reconciliation efforts played an important role in their successful reintegration.’’
The CCEPI, he noted, had been taking care of children born of girls abducted by Boko Haram who are referred to as “bad blood children’’ in the southern part of Borno State.
Tamfu said that Dali has been instrumental to the re-integration of women who lived with Boko Haram in spite of resistance from the integrating communities, as she advocated against the double victimization of the women.
According to him, Dali was the first humanitarian actor to set up a livelihood programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in Madagali and Michika local government areas of Adamawa.
He said that the centre took the risk of reaching areas considered inaccessible and dangerous at the peak of the Boko Haram activities at a time when other NGOs could not.