Promoting peaceful co-existence: CATAI’s northeast connection project
The Center for Advocacy Transparency and Accountability Initiative (CATAI) actively promotes peaceful co-existence in northeast Nigeria, bringing communities together and building sustainable dialogue so that community grievances can be mended, instead of leaving issues that could be exploited by extremists.
Using a grassroots level approach, CATAI’s North East Connection project, ’Promoting Civic Participation for Community Peacebuilding forums,’ engaged directly with government officials, traditional rulers, youth groups, women groups, persons living with disabilities (PLWD) and informal security bodies through community dialogue sessions and town hall meetings in the Biu and Jere Local Government Areas of northern Nigeria.
Young people were a key focus of the North East Connection project, which provided spaces for discussions between young people and civic actors so that their voices were heard. In particular, the project supported young women to voice issues they may face when engaging other members within their communities and to provide young women with greater agency.
Speaking about the project, CATAI’s Programme Manager Ishaku Yohanna Balami noted that ‘the project was targeted at youth and young women who are the most marginalised in terms of policy, decision making and participation in politics and democratic spaces.’
Balami noted that ‘we engaged young people in an exercise where [they were sensitised] to peace and conflict resolution in their communities.’
When the project was completed in 2022, CATAI had supported the capacity strengthening of 100 stakeholders across target communities in Biu and Jere local government areas through multiple workshops and dialogue sessions while working to address emerging threats/issues affecting the communities, and six Community Peace Governance Platforms were formed across communities in Biu and Jere.
Balami concluded that the project’s outcomes were encouraging and that the initiative was able to ‘share means [to resolve] future issues and [show] how youths could participate in conflict resolution in a peaceful and result-oriented manner.’