I received this urgent plea from our National Coordinator in Nigeria, Rev. Abare Kallah:

In Africa, people live in close proximity to each other. Many of our Interfaith Peacemaker Teams are in marginalized, densely populated communities, where standing 6 feet apart will be nearly impossible. In some areas there isn’t enough water, so washing hands for 20 seconds is a luxury. A Covid 19 attack will be devastating. If one person gets it, it will easily spread to the entire community. Even if the virus doesn’t get them, when a lockdown happens, the economic hardship will. Many are daily wage-earners. That means, if there is no income today, there is no food on the table tomorrow, and no money for rent at the end of the month.

Can you join me in helping protect our sisters and brothers in Gombe State in Nigeria at this time of deadly pandemic?

Finding clean water to wash hands can be a challenge in rural Nigeria
Finding clean water to wash hands can be a challenge in rural Nigeria

Right now, there is no Covid 19 there and people are still able to move about freely. This means that we have a short window of opportunity to provide education for Community Awareness and Preparedness.

OMNIA has 71 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams on the ground. We have trained over 2000 leaders to think strategically, build power and work together for successful outcomes to help their communities. We also have strong relationships with Muslim and Christian religious leaders.

In addition, 18 nursing students from the College of Nursing in Gombe State who participated in Interfaith Peacemaker Team training in October have agreed to be our ambassadors in Community Awareness and Preparedness in Gombe State.

Students from the College of Nursing in Gombe received OMNIA training in October 2019
Students from the College of Nursing in Gombe received OMNIA training in October 2019

“What a great experience this will be for nursing students to become Public Health Ambassadors!” said their Provost, Dr. Pauline J. Doka, herself an OMNIA certified leader and trainer. The school is temporarily closed because of the virus, so they are excited to take on this historic role.

So here’s the plan we will set into motion right away. We will:

ACTIVATE our IP Teams to be the agents of Community Preparedness.

CREATE materials, including talking points and a pamphlet with best practices from around the world. The IP Teams will take it out to religious and community leaders so that they might use their pulpits (and other megaphones) to prepare the community.

With few resources, our IP Team leaders will be called upon to use their skills to guide their neighbors through the worst of this pandemic.

YOU CAN JOIN US in making this novel corona virus a little less deadly in Gombe State. Will you…

  • Make a secure donation through our website

        Can you donate $25? $50? $100? 250? Or more?
        A generous donor will match your donation dollar for dollar.

Shanta Premawardhana

President

Shanta Premawardhana is president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. Prior to OMNIA, he served as the Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches, USA. While serving as pastor of Ellis Avenue Church in Chicago, he engaged in community organizing work in the Southside of Chicago. He is an emeritus trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, National Council of Churches, USA, and Common Cause Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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Interfaith Peacemaker Teams engage the best resources within every community to help turn the tide of extremist violence to create a new season of peaceful cooperation. You can become a team member - through your voice, your involvement, and your financial support!
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