Angola: Eunice Nangueve Inacio

I wish to see women free of poverty and illiteracy, bringing peace and equitable development in Angola, to see women leaders prevent armed conflict and promote inclusive, just governance.

— Eunice Nangueve Inacio

Eunice Nangueve Inacio was born in Angola in 1948 into a religious protestant family. Her background and academic pursuits did not distance Eunice from local people. In 1985, she headed the welfare program in Ministry of Social Affairs, focusing on children and war-displaced people. In 1991, she became the national director for training social workers. Through her efforts today about 600 local peace promoters have been trained and work in 14 provinces. Approximately 120 communities have been supported with local peace initiative grants to provide shelter to thousands affected by war.

When the Civil War resumed after elections failed in 1992, Eunice Inacio became a focal point for running the humanitarian programs for children in Huambo, during the two-year occupation of the province by the Unita rebel army. After the first cease-fire in 1995 she coordinated the National Program for Family Tracing of Separated Children. After the breakdown of the cease-fire and Angola’s return to civil war in 2000, Eunice Inacio became the coordinator of the Angolan Peace Building Program (PCP), a national civil society and ecumenical initiative to end the recurring cycles of war. With strong support from PCP, and Inacio’s mediation and consensus building, the Comité Intereclesial para a Paz em Angola (Coiepa), an ecumenical advocate for peace in the country, was founded. This powerful peace movement grew out of an emerging civil society and increasingly articulated popular demands for an end to the war. Ms Inacio has been actively involved in creating regional linkages and exchanges with Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa, aimed at strengthening the peace process and peace culture in Angola. Peace movements, including all the principal churches under the leadership of Coiepa and the national NGO Forum have all benefited from Inacio’s participation. “We do not hear about peace-keeping forces. Ms Inacio has managed to bring peacekeeping to the people and challenged them to take responsibilities and protect each other. She is our leader, she knows our context,” says one supporter of her work.