ATROCITY PREVENTION SMALL GRANTS

NIGERIA, 2016

Challenge

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has faced a long history of ethnic and religious strife. Steady increases in violent extremism and dangerous speech divide Christian and Muslim communities in Kano State in northern Nigeria, raising concerns of a growing risk of mass atrocity. In many of these communities, youth are the most vulnerable to these crises, leaving them particularly susceptible to coercion and recruitment into extremist groups.

Response

The team at Teens Educational and Development Information Initiative (TEDiiN) knows that young people can be more than foot soldiers for extremist groups. They believe that the youth can reverse the tides of violence and lead their communities to peace.

They took on the challenge of addressing dangerous speech among youth in their community through a Nexus Fund micro-grant. They trained students through workshops and public radio programming, and supported them in forming a #IStandForPeace Club where they could take countering dangerous speech into their own hands.

Results

Through the workshops and radio programs, TEDiiN’s project reached over 800 people. The youth in the #IStandForPeace Club continue to meet bimonthly to brainstorm new efforts against dangerous speech in their communities.

The impact of this project was immediately felt in the community. In one particular incident, a man at a restaurant overheard a woman make an inciting comment about Islam. The man started to quietly gather a group, planning to attack the woman for her comments.

A young Peace Ambassador from the #IStandForPeace Club who was present was asked to participate in the attack against the woman. Instead of joining, he used his training from TEDiiN to help the group find a peaceful resolution. By doing this, he not only protected this woman’s life, but prevented a small incident from potentially igniting a chain of violent events.