Recently updated on September 26th, 2018 at 04:58 pm
Dr. Rebecca Dali, 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 North-East Nigeria. The award has a symbolic cash prize of about ₦6.6 million.
Reacting to the award, Dr. Rebecca Dali said that the award had come to assuage the sadness for the disappearance of her son in the 2011 Jos crises.
In her words:
“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.’’
According to Mr. Hanson Tamfu, the External Relations Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Nigeria, the award is conferred biennially, to draw the world’s attention to the unnoticed efforts by individuals, groups and organisations “doing something special and unique to reconcile people and parties in conflict’’.
In his award statement for Dr. Dali, he said:
“The jury of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Award has decided to grant its 2017 Award to you.
This is in recognition of the courageous efforts of you and the CCEPI to promote the re-integration of returning women abducted by the Boko Haram group back into their local communities.
As the communities resisted their re-integration, your negotiation skills and reconciliation efforts played an important role in their successful re-integration.’’
According to him, Dali was the first humanitarian actor to set up a livelihood programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in Madagali and Michika local government areas of Adamawa.
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.
The World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is usually celebrated on Aug. 19 to honour the 22 aid workers who died bombing of the UN headquarters in Bagdad in 2003, among whom was Sergio Vieira de Mello.
It is also a day to commemorate all those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian workers around the world.
Sérgio Vieira de Mello was a Brazilian diplomat who worked for the UN for more than 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian services and political programmmes of the world body.