A Kenyan woman is among the recipients of the inaugural Global Pluralism Award that recognises people who have made extraordinary achievements in peacebuilding, mediation and pluralism.
Ms Alice Wairimu Nderitu, a mediator of armed conflict currently working with Center for Humanitarian Dialogue was on Friday honoured for her achievements in mediation and peacebuilding.
Ms Wairimu, a former commissioner with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), was recognised for her mediation efforts in Nigeria and Kenya and was commended for her unique peacemaking abilities.
Ms Wairimu, who is currently based in Nigeria, made history in the country as the only women who has mediated armed conflict.
In 2015, she was the lead mediator in a mediation process between 29 ethnic communities in Kaduna state, leading to the Kafanchan Peace Declaration, which was signed by two state governors, Mr Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Mr Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau in 2015.
She also handled a bigger mediation process in 2017, between 56 ethnic communities in Plateau State, leading to the Southern Plateau Peace Declaration.
It is not lost on Ms Wairimu that there are not enough women in mediation of conflict and she has pledged to use the 50,000 USD (Sh5m) monetary award to set up a pool of women mediators of armed conflict.
“It has been difficult to carve my space into mediating armed conflict. This award has put me on a pedestal and gives a voice to women mediators,” she said.
During the intense peace mediations in Nigeria, Wairimu recalls how shocked the locals were when they saw a woman leading the process.
“They would take pictures in awe because they could not imagine that women had the wisdom and capacity to mediate conflict,” she recalls.