IGAD launches Afrika Moja, an umbrella platform for civil society campaigns to counter violent extremism
The IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism has launched an umbrella platform for civil society organizations in the Horn and Eastern Africa region to implement campaigns aimed at countering violent extremism in the region.
In a two-day workshop convened at the Center in Djibouti, participants worked creatively to set up a platform that will carry their various counter and alternative narrative campaigns.
During the workshop, participants overwhelmingly voted to adopt the name Afrika Moja for the platform, with a supporting slogan Stories of Everyday Heroes which will be used to progressively build a stock of real life stories that can inspire young people.
The objectives of the platform is to challenge the current violent extremist narratives, promote local voices, highlight success stories and expose violent extremism for what it is.
The workshop is a follow up of an innovation lab held earlier this year during which youth activists underwent a programme to equip them with innovative skills needed to create their own campaigns to stem the spread of violent extremism.
Using their acquired skills, participants were able to develop further the video and photographic campaigns they had come up with during the innovation lab.
As a first step to activate the Afrika Moja platform, the workshop launched one of the campaigns, dubbed Strength in Diversity, which will be posted on various social outlets to promote the underlying message that despite their differences, Africans have common values that make them truly one. The platform will carry further campaigns aimed at alerting young people about the dangers of getting involved in violent extremism.
“Working closely with CSOs and watching them use the skills they have acquired reinforces my belief that CSOs constitute a unique soft power in curbing violent extremism,” remarked Dahir Meraney, deputy director of the Center.
“For me, this is the beginning of proper behavioural change in Africa. We have to spearhead this campaign by promoting Afrika Moja,” said Suleiman Munyua, one of the youth participants.
The workshop, which brought together youth from Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, was held at the IGAD Center on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th September 2017.