Peacebuilding Alum Builds Anti-Poverty Program Leasing Motorbikes in Nigeria

March 14, 2024

Dogara Simon Danbaba, MA in International Peacebuilding '22, has implemented a project he began planning while a student at HIU. Dogara reports that the Muna-Tare Empowerment Center in Northern Nigeria is now in full operation. The center has been able to purchase 40 motorbikes, which have been distributed under a "lease-to-own" program. 

"I am profoundly happy and fulfilled as the founder of Muna-Tare Empowerment Center, an interfaith social enterprise that aimed to bring Christian and Muslim communities in Northern Nigeria to harmoniously live together in a cohesive society with a sense of shared identity and purpose," Dogara said via What's App.

This effort to lift young people of both faiths out of poverty happens, he said, "by empowering them through ownership of motor bikes and tricycles, which will open up employment and educational opportunities for the youth in the community."

The program will help Nigerian youth address poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy, giving them access to transportation that will allow them to work and learn. The lease payments will allow the center to invest in more motorbikes.

"The mission is to establish a viable joint Christians/Muslims interfaith organization to launch and provide a social enterprise which will educate, train and enable young people to participate in an affordable 'lease to own' program for motorbikes and tricycles to provide their communities  with needed delivery and taxi services," he said.

Through its work, the organization will work to promote social justice, restorative justice and equity in the communities, needed to address the serious issues of poverty, crime, discrimination, violence, gangs and terrorism that currently exist in Northern Nigeria.

“Witnessing the launch and the handing over of 40 bikes to young people gives me joy and happiness," Dogara said. "Knowing that transformation in the lives of our youth, empowered with bikes to combat poverty and extremism, fills me with boundless joy."

Some of the funding for this cause was raised from individuals Dogara met while a student at HIU.

"I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Hartford International University for Religion and Peace for the incredible opportunity provided through the scholarship that supported my entire studies. I pledge to serve as their ambassador, dedicated to promoting peace and reconciliation in Northern Nigeria and beyond."

Interest in the least-to-own program has been extremely high with more than 1,000 applications. 

"To everyone who has contributed, whether through financial support, encouragement, or advocacy, please accept my sincerest gratitude," Dogara said. "Your generosity and belief in our cause inspire us to press on in our mission of fostering peace, opportunity, and prosperity in Northern Nigeria."


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