Shehu Usman Salihu
Centre for information Technology and Development (CITAD) in continuation of its capacity building on promoting peace and national unity using social media organized 2-day training on social media for peace campaign for Civil Society organizations from North-Central of Nigeria held on 25th and 26th September, 2014 at Westpoint Hotel, Abuja.
The objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of CSOs and journalists in the use of social media to support the peaces campaign efforts by the CSOs. The workshop was attended by 40 participants from Niger, Nassarawa, Plateau and Kogi states as well as from the Federal Capital Territory. The workshop commenced with a welcome address by Mal Kabiru S. Dakata who outlined the programme , its objectives and the programme methodology. He added that the workshop was part of a larger on peace building that CITAD was implementing with supported from MacArthur Foundation. He explained that similar workshops had been conducted for CSOs in both the north east and north west of the country as well as for journalists and students leaders all aimed at critical a mass of critical users of social media for peace building campaign
The participants then took turn to introduce themselves, stating their expectations for the workshop during which most of them expressed the desire to learn more about social media and how they could use it for their professional duties in their organizations. This was followed by baseline survey on the use of social media among the participants. This was to enable the facilitators to know the right entry point for the training. It was found that many of the participants had facebook accounts; a few have twitter handles and YouTube account respectively.
Participants were however not aware of other social media tools while with respect to used; many said they were only using facebook to share information with friends but not for professional use.
The workshop took off with a presentation “Understanding Social Media” by Kabiru Sa`idu Dakata, CITAD Senior Program Officer. In this he explained the meaning and various dimensions of social media and illustrated its various uses for social activism. This was followed by another presentation on the “Use of Facebook” by Sufyan Lawal Kabo, CITAD Media and Publication Officer, which focused on origin and uses of facebook as well as on how it could be used for peace campaign and advocacy. The next presentation was on the “Use of Twitter” presented by Engr. Kamal Umar, CITAD Technical Officer, which he also explained its origin, its uses and how it could also be used. This also followed the same pattern as the previous presentation on facebook.
After these presentations, participants were taken through hands-on practical on facebook and twitter, facilitated by Shehu Usman Salihu from CITAD which carried them through setting up their personal profiles on Facebook and twitter handles as well as setting up and managing groups and pages. The practical also featured demonstration on various skills for the use of these tools such as sending messages, uploading pictures, adding friends and followers.
After the lunch/prayer break, a presentation on Uses of Animation to support peace campaign by Sufyan Lawal Kabo was taken. The first day closed with presentation on planning social media advocacy taken by Sufyan. Participants them spent time disucusinn the various issues raised on the planning for social media campaign
The second day began with an overview of the first day. This was done in a participatory way with participants sharing their own recollection. Following this, the Country Director of Macarthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima addressed the participants and urged to make use of the skills and knowledge they would acquired from the training. He said Macarthur Foundation was committed to supporting peace building in the country and hoped that through this efforts we would make a difference in restoring peace in our various communities, and especially in the north east where insurgency has been ravaging the region.
Thereafter, the participants were taken on Online Tools and Advanced Internet Applications facilitated by Kamal Umar, focusing on online data storage, advanced internet search techniques and online translation. He also took the participants into the hands-on practice of each one. Participants were particularly interested in the online translation for peace messages written in one language to be translated into another for greater accessibility to various communities.
The break the workshop resumed with a presentations on Case Study: Social Media for Peace campaign. This was an illustration of social media peace campaign using the CITAD efforts as an example. Participants were taken through the various tools the organization used in sending out messages such as the website, the twitter handles, the various peace groups and pages and well as leveraging other platforms and tools. Linkage was also made to countering dangerous and hateful speeches in order to promote better understanding between the various communities. Participants were invited to join the various peace lists and groups as well as set up their own pages/groups in support of peace building. The last presentation was on Evaluating Your Social Media Campaign. The presenter explained that it was not enough to prosecute the social media campaign but must constantly be monitored and evaluated to know how far the campaign was going. Various tools for the evaluation of the social media campaign were presented as well as demonstrated for the use of the participation.
The workshop was brought to the end by a session on the workshop evaluation during which participants gave feedback on the training. Participants expressed appreciation to the CITAD and its facilitators for a job well done as well as to MacArthur for supporting the workshop and expressed desired that the training all the training materials be given to them. Speaking on behalf of the participants, Abdul Mikili from Kogi State was this was one workshop that had enriched their knowledge and skills and called on CITAD to avail this opportunity to many more people.