Rebecca Dali and the Center for Caring, Empowering, and Peace Initiatives

In April 2014, much of the world was appalled by the kidnapping of 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria. The region is a stronghold of the terror group Boko Haram. They were not the first girls abducted for daring to defy Boko Haram’s prohibition of female education, and sadly, they have not been the last.

Nearly five years later, more than 100 girls from the Chibok school remain missing. Some of those who escaped or were freed sought help from Dr. Rebecca Dali, who runs the Center for Caring, Empowering and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI). Some of the girls have been rejected by their families and communities because they are rape survivors who have given birth to children whose fathers are terrorists.

Dali founded CCEPI in 1989 to help Nigerian women, children, and orphans. Dali and her colleagues at CCEPI not only offer treatment for the traumas the Chibok girls have endured, but also enable them to learn skills and offer them tools to improve their ability to earn a living.

Dali offers herself as an example to the girls of what they are capable of doing. “I have walked the same path that you are going through,” she tells them. “My history is terrible, but I did not lose hope, so I don’t want you to lose hope.” Dali was raped when she was 6 years old. When she turned 8, her father told her that she must get married to help support the family. She wanted to stay in school, so she ran away. Dali ultimately earned a Ph.D. and has written books documenting what happened to people whom CCEPI has cared for over the decades.

In 2017, Dali was awarded the Sergio Vieira de Mello Award, named for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights who was killed in Iraq in 2003. “Dr. Dali’s access into the local community and academic research have been invaluable to the advocacy community in the U.S. as we amplify the voices of those affected by violence in northeast Nigeria,” says Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy for the Church of the Brethren in the United States.

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) is the church’s largest national body. Samuel Dali, Dr. Dali’s husband, served for many years as president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, and most of the kidnapped Chibok girls are members. In addition to support from the church, CCEPI receives support from other donors, including USAID, the European Union, the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the International Rescue Committee.

Dali has had many encounters with Boko Haram and has paid a terrible price for treating its victims. In 2014, the group kidnapped her son. He has not been heard from since, and she presumes that he is dead. Despite the dangers, Dali and CCEPI remain committed to their ministry. As she told an interviewer, “If my organization is not there, who will go?”

This advocacy impact story is part of Chapter 3: Gender.

 

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2019 Hunger Report Executive Summary. Illustration by Doug Puller / Bread for the World Institute

2019 Hunger Report Executive Summary
Ending hunger is within reach. 2030 sounds audacious. But decades of victory over hunger, despite recent setbacks, reveal a different picture. It is rapid global progress, not any one which persuades us that ending hunger and malnutrition is possible sooner rather than later.

Christian Study Guide
The study guide offers a biblically-based tool to explore God’s call to protect vulnerable people in the 21st century. The guide summarizes the report’s overall themes and provides discussion questions and group activities on select topics in the report.

Introduction: Ending Hunger is Within Reach
A national effort to end hunger could bring our country together and this goal has in fact, already brought the world together. Ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the governments of 193 countries, including the United States, with support from their civil society and business sectors.

Chapter 1: Livelihoods
The only way to end hunger with dignity is to enable people to earn the income they need to provide enough healthy food for themselves and their children.

Chapter 2: Nutrition
Maternal and child nutrition is a critical factor in healthy human development. Nutrition is a lifelong necessity for the health and well-being of individuals, their communities, and ultimately their countries.

Chapter 3: Gender
Women in every society are treated as less valuable and/or less capable. Women and girls are the largest group of marginalized people. Yet food security is dependent on them.

Chapter 4: Climate Change
Populations that are most affected by the impact of climate change are those most likely to be hungry. Climate change is the biggest barrier to ending hunger once and for all.

Chapter 5: Fragility
When marginalized groups or people living in extreme poverty turn to violence, hunger is very often an underlying factor. Hunger is both a cause and an effect of the violence associated with fragile environments.

Religious Leaders' Statement
"As followers of Christ, we believe it is possible to build the moral and political will to end hunger by 2030. The world has made unprecedented progress against hunger, poverty, and disease in recent decades. The United States has made progress more slowly than many other countries, but it is feasible to end hunger here, too." — excerpt from religious leaders' statement

Hunger Report Sponsors
Co-Publisher: Margaret Wallhagen and Bill Strawbridge; Partners: American Baptist Churches USA World Relief, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Christian Women Connection, Church of the Brethren, Community of Christ, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Covenant World Relief/Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Growing Hope Globally, Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation, International Orthodox Christian Charities, National Baptist Convention, USA, INC, Society of African Missions, United Church of Christ, Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church