Role of Religion and Religious Leaders in Farmer-Pastoralist Conflict in Plateau State

An Inter-Religious Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria (IPNN) Qualitative Research Report

Mercy Corps funded by GHR Foundation

In the context of persistent, low-intensity conflict, which has characterized Nigeria’s Middle Belt for the past decade, Mercy Corps’ Interfaith Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria (IPNN) program, supported by the Gerald A. and Henrietta Rauenhorst (GHR) Foundation, reduces violent incidents and increases economic activity by leveraging the roles of religious leaders to create interfaith cooperation in a region where ethnicity and religion are closely interlinked. As part of this effort, this IPNN qualitative research study evaluated the impact of religious leaders and interfaith initiatives on peacebuilding outcomes. The research was conducted through four separate field visits to Plateau State—including the four IPNN sites and one control site—and answers three interconnected questions:

1. What role do religious leaders and religion play in conflict escalation and de-escalation?

2. How can religious leaders contribute to peacebuilding and what has been their impact thus far?

3. How can interfaith activities, including economic activities, contribute to peacebuilding?

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