Sufyan Lawal Kabo
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) with support from MacArthur Foundation conducted a 2-day training on the Use of Social Media for Peace advocacy for CSOs in the North-East and North-Western states of Nigeria. It was held at RiverEdge Resort, Bauchi on 11th and 12th of June, 2014. The participants numbering 36 were drawn from the CSOs in the 5 states of the North-East, namely Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, and Borno.
The specific objectives of the workshop were:
- Sensitize CSOs on the need to engage more with peace building efforts in the region with a view to contribute in the restoration of peace
- To enhance their capacity in the use of social media in the campaign for peace
The workshop was declared opened by the Bauchi State Commissioner of Information, Hon. Salihu Ibrahim who delivered the key note address. In his address, he stated that social media was a powerful and widespread communication platform for exchanging ideas and information among citizens, institutions and communities and it has presented enormous opportunities in utilizing them for peace campaign and other socio-economic development. He enjoined the CSOs to part with the governments in the effort to finding lasting peace in the region. Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Programmes Coordinator of CITAD, Malam Isyaku Garba who represented the Executive Director, provided the background for the workshop as well as the objectives. He said was the workshop was organized as part of a larger social media-based Campaign for peace in the context of insurgency that has prevailed especially in the north east part of the country. He said it was the desire of the organizers that at the end of the workshop, the capacity of the participants to use social media to would be enhanced which would help them in engaging peace building advocacy and the campaign for the restoration of peace in the region. He further hoped as a result, we would see more peace messages in the social media.
The workshop itself was conducted in 10 sessions over the two days and employed a combination of presentations, interactive discussions, and roundtable sessions.
The first presentation was on Understanding Social Media by Sufyan L. Kabo. This was to get the participants to get a better sense of the diversity of the social media. He carried the participants through the origins, historical development, dimensions and uses of the social media. This presentation was followed by another on the three most popular social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This was done by Shehu Usman Salihu.
The second session was hands-n practical on Use of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The sessions took the participants from the basic stage of registration of account to posting of messages as well as managing the accounts. Given that some of the participants had no previous experience in the use of these platforms, they were assisted to register their personal accounts for both facebook and twitter.
The second day started with a recap of the previous day’s activities. This was done by asking participants to provide their recollections. Following this, the day’s activities commenced with the presentations.
The first session was a presnenton on Building Friends and Followers. Facilitated by Isyaku Garba, it provided participants with strategies for buildnin up friends in facebook and followers for twitter repspecelto. This was cocnennrend important since the effectiveness of social meida campaign is ability to reach as many people as possible. The second second was on Planning Social Meida Campaign. This was also facilitated by Isyaku Garba
The third presentation was a case study of CITAD’s own social media peace campaign. Participants were taken through the various platforms set up for the campaign by CITAD and shown various peace messages that were being sent out. The peace website, www.citad4peace.org.ng was also presented to the participants. Facilitated by Isa Garba, the participants were enjoined to use these platform to send out positive peace messages they might have as well as asking them to popularize them to other people
After the prensentiono, the Participants were broken into small groups and deliberated on the following questions.
- What are the key constraints to the use of social media for peace campaign?
- Who will these constraints by overcome?
At the end of the group work, each group took turn to make prensentation of its work. Below is a summary of the presentation and discussion of the groups works.
- Lack of awareness about social media
- Many people do not have skills
- High level of illiteracy in the region
- Poor access to electricity
- Poverty that makes access to social media tools not affordable for many people
- People do not know how to use social media for campaign
- Campaign of awareness
- Stepping down the training on social media by the participants in the respective communities
- Understanding that use of social media is not limited to laptops and computers but also mobile handset
- Utilizing local language in the sending messages in the social media
- Calling on statements to provide of ICTs facilities in schools
- Call on donor organizations and development partners to support local groups with ICT facilities
- Utilize radio to expand the reach of social media given that more people listen to radio in the region
- Form social media clubs in neighborhoods
- Make use of text messaging using mobile handset
- Educate people on use of bulk sms services
The final presentation was devoted to Online Tools focusing on online translation and online storage that was done by Isyaku Garba. Participants were should shown how they could take advantage of the internet to store and manage their documents so that they could have them anytime anywhere without having to be carrying them all along. In the context of the peace campaign, it was shown that online translation could assist in translating messages from one language to another for improved accessibility to the people.
The final session was on : Evaluating Social Media Campaign. The idea was that it was not just enough to engage in camapgi, cmapigenrn msut cotnantlr be montritn and evuationi theiri cmaptin to know if they were maign progrese. The session feaciltl by Sufyan L. Kabo focusuue on tools for montr9ntn message reanci, baisnsn stnaitignn and more admnsne toosl such ad soil mensis, whatsup, etc.
The last acitivty of the workshop was a a general discussion on the state of insecurity in the region. Participants observed that in spite of the state of Emergency, many more people were being killed by both the insurgents and security personnel. The discussion also observed that there very little understanding between security personnel and local populations which did not augur well for the fight against insurgency. The meeting ended with agreement with the following points of to be issued as a communiqué of the workshop:
- That there is need for government to take communities partners in the fight against the insurgency;
- CSOs should work together with a view to setting up working groups on key thematic areas for the purpose of planning;
- The Federal Government should work with the state government in the region to develop programme that would address poverty an youth unemployment in the region which key drivers of the conflicts ;
- There should be better coordination between the various security agencies involved in the anti-insurgency campaign
- That CSOs should step up community sensitization with a view to mobilizing them to engage in peace building efforts
- Security personnel should respect and protect human rights of ordinary people as they engage the insurgents
- That government should make public the reports of Turaki and Galtimari Committees on the Boko Haram crisis
In order to have a platform for discussions among them, the participants created a Facebook group and named it NORTH-EAST CSOs AND MEDIA FOR PEACE FORUM. The draft communiqué read and approved for released to the media on behalf of the participants.
COMMENTS ON THE WORKSHOP MADE BY PARTICIPANTS
“It’s just great. I learnt a lot from this training. Initially, I thought social media platforms have nothing to with advocacy or campaign, but now I understand that it does. I commend the organizers of this workshop.”
“I only hope there would be more of this because with youth as target, social media is one of the best platforms for peace campaign.What eventually came to my mind is when I go back home, I will partner with CBOs and step down this training to them because I see hope in it.”
- Yusha’u Sallau, Youth Initiative on Global Peace (YIGOP)
“I have knowledge on ICT but to apply it for peace campaign is what I had never thought about. I appreciate being part of this program. I only wish these trainings will continue until we gained peace in this country because our main problems in this country are insecurity and corruption. Thank you.”
“Not just the training, what impresses me more is the expertise in the presentations and practical aspects. Honestly I’ve learnt so much from you guys. More grease to your elbows. I commend you, may God reward you abundantly.”
- Simon Joseph, CEED
Have never been on Facebook, Twitter or any Social Media Platform, but with this training, I am now conversant with all of them. This is just great! CITAD, thanks for your tremendous effort.
- Aishatu Margina,