Resources for Teachers and Students on Hafsat Abiola

Prepare: Hafsat Abiola founded and directs an organization called the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, KIND, named for her mother, which seeks to promote and strengthen democracy in Nigeria. Her father, who had won Nigeria's first presidential election in a decade, was incarcerated by the military before he could take office, and died in prison. Her mother, Kudirat Abiola, another democracy advocate, was assassinated a few years later in the streets of Lagos. Hafsat's biography can be found on the KIND website.

Read: Hafsat Abiola wrote an original essay for the Architects of Peace project. A delightful combination of folk wisdom and anecdote, this essay equates peace with the affirmation of a supportive community.

Explore: The Kudirat Initiative for Democracy operates under the assumption that women offer a strong impetus for change. It is not just a leadership development program, but a program that highlights and celebrates the role of women in an emerging democracy. As part of this approach, KIND is also invested in youth empowerment, especially via a youth employment campaign. The approach seems to be generating results in a situation many regarded as hopeless. For more information on the strategies of the Kundirat Initiative please visit their website.

Write: In her Architects of Peace essay, Hafsat Abiola claims that her father, through his stories, taught her "the lesson that peace comes from contributing the best we have, and, often, all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone." Her implicit definition of peace, throughout the article, while heavily invested in pre-colonial Nigerian values, also seems to have a feminist component. Is there a distinctly feminine approach to peacemaking? Write a three-to-five page reflective essay that speculates on how traditional male and female approaches to the process of making peace might differ, and how they might have elements in common.

Extend: Storytelling is a revered tradition in Nigeria, as one can tell while reading any of Hafsat Abiola's essays. The Geography Department of the University of Northern Iowa has put together lesson plans on Nigerian storytelling, and their website contains not only bibliographies of stories, but a handful of transcriptions of representative stories.

Additional Resource: A sub-project of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy is an organization called the Friends of Nigeria, FON, which is an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association. FON is a community of almost 2,000 returned Peace Corps Volunteers whose mission is to educate the American public about Nigeria.

Biography of Hafsat Abiola