Dr. Rebecca Dali, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI), 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.
Mr Hanson Tamfu, the External Relations Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Nigeria, revealed on Tuesday in Abuja that the award ceremony would take place on August 21 in Geneva during the celebration of this year’s World Humanitarian Day.
He stated that the award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unrecognized efforts by individuals, groups and organisations “doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict’’.
Tamfu further stated that Dr. Dali was recognised because her centre was “at its best’’ in caring for women, children, and orphans, the most vulnerable populations in North-East Nigeria, ravaged by seven years of insurgency.
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.
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According to him, Dali was the first humanitarian actor to set up a means of livelihood for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in Madagali and Michika local government areas of Adamawa State.
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.
In her reaction, Dali was said to have expressed pleasure at the honour and recognition even though she wasn’t expecting it.
She said that the award had come to lessen the sadness for the disappearance of her son in the 2011 Jos crises.
“Indeed, the award is like a miracle to me because I never expected it.
“I feel as if I do not deserve any praises for the work I do because it is service to humanity and to my people.
“I dedicate this award to God almighty, all my donors including the UNHCR, who have enabled me to be internationally visible.’’
The award is reported to have a symbolic cash prize of about N6.6 million.