Nigeria | A Force to be Reckoned With
Michael Sodipo here, excited to share about my work as a Field Coordinator for The Nexus Fund in my home country of Nigeria. I want you to meet Dr. Jummai, Founder and Executive Director of the Women and Youth for Justice and Peace Initiative. She is a force to be reckoned with.
In Kano, Dr. Jummai’s hometown, tensions between ethnic and religious groups are so great that even small incidents can trigger large-scale violence. Here, radio reaches nearly ten million people and is used as a vehicle to spread hate. “[People] listen to the radio almost like a religion. It influences their thinking, perspectives, and whatever they do. There is a strong link between hate speech and a disposition for violence. If there is hate speech now, it is preparing the community for violence in the future.”
Women and Youth for Justice and Peace Initiative held a workshop with radio hosts and other media influencers on the danger of spreading hate speech.
With Nexus support, Dr. Jummai took on a project using radio to reduce ethnically and religiously motivated violence in her community, and the impact is powerful. One man, a popular radio host previously known for spewing hate, has committed to stop using hate speech and now even serves as a community advocate to stop harmful messages from spreading.
“Prior to this project people thought the government should address hate speech, but part of our focus is building a movement and showing citizens they have a responsibility of reducing hate speech themselves. It is touching every member of the community.”
Supporting locally-led initiatives is our priority at The Nexus Fund and we are inspired by Dr. Jummai’s vision: “I want to see peaceful coexistence and development in our community. When I see the response of participants, when I see them embracing what we are doing, that makes me feel like going to work everyday. It is rewarding.”
And Dr. Jummai’s story makes us feel like going to work everyday.