Video | ‘Umuada: A Sociopolitical Institution for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management in Nigeria’ explained by Joy Onyesoh
Joy Onyesoh discusses her chapter “Umuada: A Sociopolitical Institution for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management in Nigeria” published in the 13th thematic issue of International Development Policy ‘Gender in Peacebuilding: Local Practices in Indonesia and Nigeria‘. Joy Onyesoh is International President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and President of WILPF Nigeria.
The Umuada is a traditional sociopolitical kin group in the south-eastern region of Nigeria, and is comprised of the first daughter of each family, called the Ada. It is given the utmost respect and granted ‘male’ privileges and responsibilities. Using postcolonial indigenous feminist methodologies, including interviews, observation, and dialogues with key informants across three communities in Enugu State, this chapter explores the Umuada as a local peacebuilding institution perduring from precolonial to modern times. It analyses the question, ‘What role does the Umuada play in de-escalating conflict and upholding peace in south-eastern Nigerian communities?’ The Umuada has historically served as a forum for women to voice their concerns, needs and desires. It is a vital pillar of the community, acting as an arbitration and de-escalation force and performing cultural roles men cannot. Furthermore, working closely with patriarchal institutions and occupying key cultural functions have allowed the Umuada to adapt to changing times and maintain a strong level of agency and respect in the community. These findings recommend the Umuada as a model of peacebuilding to women across Nigeria and beyond.
Read the chapter in open access: https://doi.org/10.4000/poldev.4675
Joy Onyesoh, “Umuada: A Sociopolitical Institution for Peacebuilding and Conflict Management in Nigeria”, in Prügl, E., C. Rigual, R. Kunz, M. Achakpa, H. Myrttinen, J. Onyesoh, A. Rahmawati, W. Udasmoro (eds.) (2021) Gender in Peacebuilding: Local Practices in Indonesia and Nigeria, International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement, 13 (Geneva, Boston: Graduate Institute Publications, Brill-Nijhoff), DOI: 10.4000/poldev.4494, https://brill.com/view/title/61121