Umuada Women Association as Conflict Resolution Mechanism in Southeastern Nigeria

Hyacinth Iwu, Azeez Olaniyan, Adebukola Foluke Osunyikanmi


Studies on conflict resolution are largely driven by the Clausewitzian conception of male dominance and thus, contributions by the women are often glossed over. There are historical cases of women peacemakers in Africa. One such instance is the Umuada Women Association of Southeastern Nigeria, which has come a long way as a veritable means of conflict resolution both in ancient and contemporary times. Umuada is an association formed by a group of women from one village or town who are married to other villages to sustain their matrilineal lineage. Formed as a complex network of women married outside their kindred, Umuada has been known historically as a women association that successfully nips conflicts in the bud or reins in warring factions when conflicts become intractable. Umuada association showcases a strong indigenous practice that is highly resilient and efficacious in conflict management and resolution. The practice can be harnessed to deal with contemporary conflicts that pervade African socio-political space. What is the historical context of this age-old practice? How do they organize and operate? What is the contemporary relevance of the tradition? Using fieldwork conducted amongst the Igbo-speaking people of southeastern Nigeria, this study interrogates the Umuada women peacemakers.



Conflict, Umuada Women, conflict resolution, peace and Southeastern Nigeria.

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