Indien: Neidonuo Angami

Starting with resolving the issues of conflict-driven drug addiction and alcoholism, the NMA has inserted itself into the state-Naga peace process, with women finally having a say.

— Neidonuo Angami

Neidonuo Angami (born 1950), one of the founding members and former president of the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), has never known a peaceful life. She realized that the fierce fighting between the Naga underground army and the Indian security forces directly impacts the lives of mothers who lose their children to violence and resort to substance abuse in reaction to the conflict. So, she and other Naga mothers launched the Shed No More Blood campaign, which has proved to be a crucial link in the Naga peace process.

Neidonuo Angami was born at a time when Nagaland was ravaged by combat between the Naga underground army and Indian security forces. She spent her early childhood hiding in the dense jungles. The mother of three girls, Neidonuo is the driving force behind the NMA, which was formed in 1984, and of which she is one of the founding members and former president. In the late 1970s and the early 1980s, social problems in the state-especially alcoholism and drug addiction-had become severe. Neidonuo and a few mothers, while meeting to share their concerns, felt very strongly that mothers suffer the most in conflict situations, and that there ought to be a common platform for them. Neidonuo's signal contribution is the fillip her activities have given the peace process. She launched the Shed No More Blood campaign, which led to a meeting between various Naga underground groups and the NMA. Neidonuo and her colleagues often virtually inserted themselves between warring factions and risked becoming victims. In the long run, however, these trust-building meetings have helped the government and the underground leaders to keep extending the ceasefire. Another remarkable initiative was the Journey of Conscience, a people-to-people dialogue in 2000. Neidonuo was involved with it from its conception through execution and completion. About 70 Nagas traveled to New Delhi to meet civil society groups, officials, and other concerned people. They felt that colloquy must go beyond negotiating rooms, and that people on both sides must get fully involved in the peace process. With no professional skills or support, Neidonuo and her colleagues have built up a successful peace initiative. Today, Naga women have a role in the peace process between the state agencies and the nonstate army.

Naga Mothers Association (NMA)