The Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme is working to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation initiatives in communities recovering from the insurgency in Maiduguri (Borno state). The work is being delivered in partnership with the NEEM Foundation, a local non-governmental organisation founded as a direct response to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria.
As part of the initiative, a community dialogue platform has been created to highlight security concerns and jointly identify solutions that focus on community resilience and social cohesion. The platform is made up of security agencies, community leaders, and civil society organisations.
One of the communities selected for the intervention is Shokwari, a traditional farming community. A key concern raised by the community was the high number of out-of-school children. Some of the children are orphans of insurgents and victims of the insurgency. Furthermore, during the insurgency many local youths were reportedly recruited into the insurgent group.
The dialogue platform undertook a number of activities to raise awareness about the value of education and the need to enrol children in school. Since the intiative launched, there has been a marked improvement in school enrolment. To date, 2,160 children have been enrolled in the community's primary school.
The platform also engaged other partners, such as Save the Children and the School-Based Management Committee (established by government to act as a bridge between schools and the communities they serve), to help the children who enlisted in school by providing them with uniforms and books.
Feedback from the community has been very positive:
‘The initiative has woken the people from their slumber. They now recognise the power of working together to build peace. This is evident in massive enrolment of their children in school.’ Mallam Ali Habib, Secretary, School-Based Management Committee, Shokari, Jere LGA