By Naomi MacMurdie
Nigerian youth have been the target of recruitment for extremist groups across the country. In an effort to combat the root of terrorism, Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Nigeria has worked through grassroots campaigns to bring education, leadership development, and opportunities for youth to become peacebuilding ambassadors in their communities.
Staff and volunteers with GPF Nigeria’s One Family under God campaign visited three schools that committed to establishing youth peace clubs where students can meet to network and discuss key issues that challenge peace in their community. The peace clubs founded at Ibrahim Babangida University, Marafa Arabic and Islamic Secondary School, and Baptist High School in Lapai, have all begun meeting and are dedicated to raising students as “peace ambassadors” utilizing GPF’s education series on Community-Driven Peacebuilding.
The Community-Driven Peacebuilding Series is an interactive program designed to foster understanding, respect, and social cohesion among diverse peoples and communities. The program is designed for an ongoing set of meetings to give students the opportunity to explore the root causes or potential causes of conflict as well as the principles and values that are broadly shared among the world’s faith and wisdom traditions. These shared values can provide the basis for peace and help nurture youth with essential skills to bridge divides in their communities.
The Country Director for GPF Nigeria, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, spoke to the students and shared his optimism that they will become vanguards of positive change while encouraging them to place care in their everyday words and live according to the tenets of their respective religions.
School facilitators also participated in leadership training to become mentors and advocates for students in the peace clubs. The ongoing teamwork between students, school faculty, GPF mentors, and the community will be essential to furthering peace in communities across Nigeria.