A Jordan-based NGO, Generations For Peace (GFP), says it has sensitised 1,780 youths from different religious and ethnic groups in Kaduna State to peacebuilding and the use of dialogue and advocacy in preventing violence.
This was revealed in a report entitled “Youth Advocacy to Prevent Violent Movements in Northern Nigeria, August 2017 – October 2018” made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Friday.
The report stated that the NGO, with Support from Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation, commenced activities with 250 volunteers made up of ethnically and religiously diverse youths who embraced one another across ethnic and religious divide.
“So far, no fewer than 1,780 youths and members of diverse communities in Kaduna state have been mentored to promote peace and play active roles in shaping the society they live in,” it stated.
The report added that the beneficiaries were drawn from 10 communities of Igabi, Chikun, Kaduna North and Kaduna South Local Government Areas of the state.
According to it, the goal is to foster understanding, reconciliation and conflict prevention to strengthen the needed peace in society.
“GFP has implemented a 15-month youth-led Advocacy for Peace Programme (ADPP) across 10 conflict-affected communities in four LGAs of Kaduna State from August 2017 to October 2018.
“The main objective was to encourage young people to play an active role in disseminating peace messages as part of effort to prevent the advent of conflicts in society.
“The programme aimed at supporting community-based positive, pro-social messages on peace and tolerance, and ways to mobilise youth for local actions to prevent the development of extreme movements in society.
“The goal is to secure lasting stability and peace in northern Nigeria through strengthened community resilience to extreme movements in society.”
Mr Hassey Bonnet, the NGO’s Assistant Administration Officer, told NAN that the measure was to address the longstanding communal tensions in the state, mostly due to political issues that has often taking religious dimensions.
Bonnet said that the situation has led to increased prevalence of stereotypes of one group against the other and continued to reduced interactions across religious lines with recurrent episodes of violence in communities.
“The most disturbing issue is youth recruitment and radicalisation into religiously-affiliated extreme movements such as Boko Haram, community militias and other gangs.
“There is also the issue of politicians and other elites, who manipulates over 80 per cent of youth and induces them with cash or drugs to incite violence in the society,” he said.
The administrative officer said that GFP has trained more than 350 volunteers in Kaduna State since 2008, who lead participatory conflict analysis, adding that it has also implemented 20 peace building programmes and engaged more than 6,950 girls, women and youth.
He explained that the volunteers uses sport, empowerment, advocacy and dialogue as entry points for engagement, integrated education and sustained behavioural change in promoting peacebuilding programmes in their various communities.
The official further said that since 2007, the NGO has trained and mentored more than 10,730 volunteer leaders of youth in 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
“With GFP support, the beneficiaries are addressing local issues of conflict and violence and have so far, touched the lives of more than 499,397 children, youth and adults,” he added.