The university and North East Regional Initiative (NERI) are collaborating on a project to equip women leaders to nip violent extremism in the bud in northeast Nigeria.
They both recognize the enormous, age-long soft power of women in the locality.
The partnership plans to mobilize, train, and deploy influential women leaders from the northeast to identify and challenge early signs of youth radicalization in their communities.
The project will run from May to July and will kick off with a three-day capacity building workshop for selected women leaders from Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. The training began at the AUN campus on June 4.
Women Action to Combat Violent Extremism and Radicalism in Northeast Nigeria is designed to address the drivers of radicalization at the community level. It will target families and youths at a high risk of joining extremist organizations.
The project leverages the influence of women in their families and communities to build mechanisms for community resilience and family-centered interventions in vulnerable communities.
Women Action to Combat Violent Extremism and Radicalism in Northeast Nigeria uses a tool adapted from similar projects in Tunisia, Latin America, and the US to systematically identify and target the most vulnerable groups.
The Lead Technical Adviser on the project, Dr. Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, said the project would also deploy social and digital tools created by students and faculty members of AUN to bridge divides between Muslims and Christians.
“A key element of this project is the opportunity it provides for us to develop and test a community-centered violence risk assessment tool with aggregated risk factors that can be easily used by local women as part of an early warning and violence prevention architecture,” Dr. Jacob said.
This project is the latest effort by AUN and the NERI to intervene in the Boko Haram crisis. It would be recalled that AUN developed a countering extremism campaign that went on to win global and continental awards in the Facebook P2P Global Digital Challenge.
Reported by Zamiyat Abubakar