Full Name
Rebecca Dali
Job Title
Executive Director
Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives
Speaker Bio

Excerpted from the Church of the Brethren Newsline, August 31, 2017

“At first I was helping vulnerable children, but when the crisis of violence came to Jos, I started helping widows and orphans,” recalls Dali, who founded and runs the Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) in northeast Nigeria. “Later, when Boko Haram came, we started working with the whole range of displaced people. We have registered 380,000 households whom we have helped with something,” says Dali, who herself was forced to flee with her family when Boko Haram militants took over the town of Michika, Adamawa State, in 2014.
As the situation in the northern states of Nigeria only worsened, the CCEPI relief work grew gradually, resulting in helping 1 million individuals since 2008. “In that big, huge congregation, there were widows and orphans again, and I started to focus on the most vulnerable,” says Dali. A lot of people coming from Boko Haram insurgencies were neglected, “the government did not care, the community rejected them”–often including even their own families. “When I started opening my arms to them, they started coming to me: some were sick, some were hungry, most of them had experienced trauma, violence, abuse.”

Dali was also amongst the first to visit the parents of the 276 Chibok girls after the mass kidnapping by Boko Haram in April 2014. Courageous efforts of Rebecca Dali and the CCEPI in the reintegration of women abducted by the Boko Haram were recognized by the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation, which granted Dali its biennially conferred Humanitarian Award. “As the local communities resisted their reintegration, your negotiation skills and reconciliation efforts played an important role in their successful reintegration,” states chairman of the foundation and UNHCR’s director of External Relations Anne Willem Bijleveld.

Dali received the award in 2017 at the United Nations in Geneva, during the annual World Humanitarian Day.”

Despite her extremely humble beginnings in Nigeria, Dr. Dali earned a doctorate and engaged in humanitarian efforts described above. After receiving the UN award, Dr. Dali and her family were forced to flee Nigeria in the face of death threats from Boko Haram. While in the US, Dr. Daii’s son has become a surgeon, and she and her husband continue their activism. Dr. Dali gathered 30 Nigerian civil society organizations into a chapter of the Movement for Community-led Development. They represent a new way forward for networked, locally-led community development efforts and already are influencing, learning together, and charting a collective journey to address the violence sweeping across Nigeria, mobilizing youth, making education possible, caring for every person, and much more. Dr. Dali and her husband plan to return to Nigeria, if possible, in 2021.  

Rebecca Dali