Festus Iyorah is a Nigerian freelance journalist and photographer based in Lagos. He reports on global health, social innovation, gender equality, technology, development, conflicts and religion. He has been published in Al Jazeera, The Catholic Herald, The Guardian, Global Sisters Report and World Politics Review.
Kogi, Nigeria - The Augustinian Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus spent three decades running a hospital in Shuwa, until Boko Haram insurgents destroyed it, leaving the congregation to ultimately find a new home. Their wrenching decision is one other congregations have faced in troubled regions: leave behind a population desperately in need of their services, or ensure the safety of their sisters?
Sr. Agatha Chikelue started thinking about how to build bridges between Christians and Muslims in 2008, as northern Nigeria disintegrated into violence. Nigeria's population is evenly divided with 48 percent Muslims and 49 percent Christians, who commonly avoid direct contact with each other. Since starting in 2011, the Women of Faith Peacebuilding Network's activities have reached more than 10,000 Muslim and Christian women across the country through seminars, meditations, presentations by religious leaders, and dialogue.