WHAT WE DO
We work in areas where there are significant risks of mass atrocities but still opportunity for prevention.
We support local on-the-ground efforts with micro-grants through three programs:
Average Grant Size: $5,000
Countries Where We Have Supported Local Communities: 36
Civil Society Exchange Participants to date: 76
Recent events have inspired us to expand our work on dangerous speech to the United States - particularly to counter hate speech against ethnic, religious and racial minorities, as well as women and the LGBTQ community. As we witness increased hate speech and violence unfold in America, we feel our unique knowledge and experience are valuable here in our own communities, and we are going to do everything we can to help.
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.
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.
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.
Dangerous speech -- or hate speech with the power to catalyze violence -- is an alarming issue globally, and the United States is no exception. Observing the dangerous rise of hate rhetoric in the recent years, we saw a stark need for increased resource sharing and strategic coordination between community leaders and groups working to combat various forms of hate speech across the country.
The Nexus Fund brought together a cross-section of activists, civil society organizations, academics, social scientists, neuroscientists and marketers from across the country working to address hate speech against refugees, immigrants, and racial and religious minorities to share tools, resources, and opportunities to counter such rhetoric more effectively. The workshop was facilitated by Rachel Brown, a pioneer in the field of dangerous speech and author of the new toolkit and guide "Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Countering Dangerous Speech."
At the workshop, leaders shared the challenges they face and discussed the implications of dangerous speech for different communities in the United States. They were able to empathize with and learn from each other, grounded in the understanding that no one organization can fight hate alone. As a result, partnerships emerged, and we are currently awarding micro-grants for specific projects working to address dangerous and hate speech in the U.S. We are continuing to build and expand our work here. To learn more, visit Divided we fall.