In response to the rise in violence and extreme behavior of youths across the country, The Institute of Governance and Social Research (IGSR)with the support of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) is implementing a project titled “Youth and Peaceful Co-existence in Community: The Plateau Case”(Round II).
The successfully concluded Safe School Initiative was organized for 1,960 students and teachers across 5 LGAs in Plateau State Central Senatorial Zone on the theme; “Raising Awareness among Educators, Students and School Communities about Violent Extremism”. The program was carried out in the 5 LGAs between 23rd and 28th November 2020 at the following venues for each of the LGAs: Government Secondary School Kabwir, Kanke; Multi-Purpose Hall Dengi, Kanam; Boys Secondary School Gindiri, Mangu; Memorial Secondary School, Pankshin; and Akiluwa Conference Hall, Bokkos.
In the first round of the project, Peace clubs were established in 9 secondary schools across 3 LGAs under the Safe School initiative, In the second round, and in continuation of activities under the Safe School Initiative (establishment of Peace Clubs), IGSR organized a week-long program to establish Peace Clubs in 11 additional schools and strengthen the capacity of the previously established clubs in the Central Senatorial Zone of Plateau State( Kanam, Kanke, Pankshin, Mangu and Bokkos LGAs).
Since 2017, IGSR began establishing Peace Clubs in Secondary schools to help curb violent extremism by creating awareness among students, teachers and community members on the patterns and trends extremist groups use for recruitment and radicalization of young people. IGSR Peace clubs are designed to enhance intellectual and cultural development, enhance teamwork, co-operation and integration. Peace Clubs are to initiate extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and culture programs which can also be leveraged upon to incorporate informal interactive settings, social and emotional learning strategies and resilience-building measures that are also part of the formal education system.
The main objective was to strengthen the capacity of teachers and students to prevent violent extremism and radicalization in schools. The program was designed to sensitize students on the need to understand early signs of radicalization and triggers of violent extremism; to inculcate critical thinking skills that will enable students to challenge ideologies that foster feelings of intolerance, division and differences, including prejudice, hate speech and violent extremist messages. The students and teachers were taught alternative means of settling conflicts and violent extremism by cultivating attitudes and values that will encourage students to participate as active citizens in their communities. In the course of the program teachers and students were equipped with the knowledge and skills in preventing violent extremism among secondary school students, and to develop a sense of civic responsibility and positively engage with institutions and organizations.
Experienced resource persons were drawn from security agencies and the educational sector to make presentations on thematic areas regarding the prevention of violent extremism. These included the following: “Understanding Early Signs of Radicalisation and The Role of Young People in Peace Building” and “The Role of Teachers and Students in Preventing Violent Extremism; the Need for Unity, Tolerance and Nation Building”
The program was informative, educative, interactive and participatory with questions, answers and contributions by the participants. Thereafter, the newly established peace clubs were inaugurated. Also present were representatives from the Ministry of Education, Parent Teacher Association, Traditional and Community Leaders. They each commended the timely intervention of IGSR in stepping in to address the issues of violence among the youth from an early age preserving the future of our nation.
The program covered the 20 schools in Plateau State Central Senatorial Zone (listed below)
- Kabwir Comprehensive Secondary School, Lepchalim (Kanke LGA)
- Government Secondary School ForkhirAmper (Kanke LGA)
- Government Secondary School Ampang East (Kanke LGA)
- Ganaka Girls Memorial College Kwal (Kanke LGA)
- Government Girls Secondary School, Dengi (Kanam LGA)
- Government Model Secondary School, Dengi (Kanam LGA)
- Government Secondary School Jarmai, (Kanam LGA)
- Government Secondary School, Kunkyam, (Kanam LGA)
- Islamic Secondary School Gindiri, (Mangu LGA)
- Government Secondary School, Mushere (Bokkos LGA)
- Government Secondary School Jing (Pankshin LGA)
- Akiliwa Secondary School (Bokkos LGA)
- Government Secondary School Ngosar ( Bokkos LGA)
- Andy Comprehensive Secondary School, Marish (Bokkos LGA)
- Boys Secondary School Gindiri (Mangu LGA)
- Government Science School Mangun (Mangu LGA)
- Islamic Secondary School. Mangu (Mangu LGA)
- Good Shepherd Secondary School (Pankshin LGA)
- Government Secondary School Wokkos, (Pankshin LGA)
- Langkuk Memorial Secondary School(Pankshin LGA)