Non-governmental organisation ActionAid Nigeria said it has commenced consultations with twenty-four communities within twelve local government areas of Kogi and Nasarawa states to end violent extremism in the areas.
ActionAid is doing this in preparation for the flag off of the second phase of the “System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE) Project in Kogi and Nasarawa States”.
The project, which aims to strengthen community resilience against violent extremism in both states, seeks to decrease vulnerability of young men and women to violent extremism through socio-economic empowerment of over 1,500 youths and 1,000 women among other initiatives.
“One of the project implementation strategy that has stood ActionAid Nigeria out among other International Non-Governmental Organisations is our community rootedness, which is informed by our resolute to carry communities along in every of our interventions, hence the community consultations we just began today,” Country Director Ene Obi said in Abuja on Tuesday.
“By doing this, we endear the ownership of the project to the people which by extension guarantees the smooth running of the project and thereafter the sustainability of the results.
“ActionAid Nigeria has worked in Kogi and Nasarawa States for 11 and 15 years respectively.
“Findings from working closely with key stakeholders in Kogi State within the past three years showed that radicalisation to violent extremism cannot be sufficiently addressed without solving the problem of extreme poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.
“The success recorded in Kogi State further informed the extension of the project to Nasarawa State for this second phase,” she said.
On December 18, 2018, during the close-out of the first phase of the project, it was revealed that the first phase of the project which was implemented in Kogi state only, reached 12,935 youths (4,230 women and 8,705 men) and 8,913 women with livelihood training/entrepreneurial skills and constructed 9 mini-cottage industries that have pulled over 5,000 youths and women out of poverty.
Specifically, the project developed and published a Peace Club Mentors’ Guide, which is now used for peace education in the State’s primary and secondary schools; provided advocacy support for the passage of the “Kogi Youth Development Commission Bill” into law towards creating an enabling environment for sustainable youth empowerment in the state; and supported development of the “Kogi State Action Plan for Peace and Security of Women and Children” to promote inclusiveness of women in preventing violent extremism and good governance, among others.
“ActionAid Nigeria remains resolute in addressing the drivers of violent extremism and we call on relevant stakeholders to jointly ensure that the issue of youth unemployment and social exclusion in Nigeria, particularly in Kogi and Nasarawa States are reduced to the barest minimum,” Ene said.