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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations
December 2, 2013

 


 

In September 2013, the U.S. Consulate General Lagos and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations
(CSO) launched a conflict mitigation initiative in Nigeria’s Delta region. As an economic and cultural giant with
a growing and dynamic population, Nigeria plays a critical role in Africa. The United States has a strong
interest in supporting the country’s peace, prosperity, and security. Essential to this is the stability of the
resource-rich Niger Delta – an economic engine of the country, but a region historically prone to violence. The
absence of a ‘social contract’ at the local level, coupled with poor public service delivery, youth unemployment,
environmental degradation, upcoming national- and state-level elections and the planned end of amnesty,
leave the Delta vulnerable to renewed conflict. Reducing that vulnerability is in the interests of both the U.S.
and Nigeria.

Defining a New Legacy

From civil society groups to artists, youth leaders to dynamic politicians, many Nigerians in the Delta are
challenging the narrative of violence and striving for a future of peace and prosperity. Local teachers,
journalists, and religious leaders are joining forces to advocate for improved service delivery. NGOs and
Nollywood stars are teaming up to discredit violence. If amplified, these inspiring stories can drown out the
adage that ‘violence pays,’ and set the tone for a new public narrative of peace.

By partnering with Nigerians already shaping a legacy of non-violent civic activism, the U.S. government hopes
to play a catalytic role in the Niger Delta. At the forefront of the U.S.-supported initiative is a core group of
Nigerian civic leaders and activists. Together, the U.S. government and our Nigerian partners will focus on a
mass media campaign supported by community and government outreach.

Mass Media Campaign

The initiative will capitalize on rapidly expanding media platforms to amplify a message of non-violence. The
Board of Directors will design and launch TV and radio shows and social media content, formats that are
increasingly accessible throughout the Delta communities. Featuring prominent celebrities and public figures,
the campaign will showcase stories of communities and government working together to solve problems
nonviolently, in order to inspire growth and improvement of such efforts. By creating popular content in
partnership with leading broadcasters and producers, the engagement will yield commercially viable media
products that will long outlast the donor funding period.

Community and Government Outreach

Recognizing that media alone is not sufficient to promote change, the Board of Directors will identify practical
opportunities to provide support to coalitions, technical assistance, or peer-to-peer exchanges to those
interested in replicating successes showcased in the media campaign. NGOs and community-based
organizations in the Delta will implement these activities aimed at breaking cycles of violence, while the
Consulate General and CSO will reinforce the impact through engagement with state and local governments.

Measuring Success

Our goal is to reduce the likelihood of mass violence in the Niger Delta in the next two years. We will
measure our impact by:

  • Tracking frequency and intensity of violence using open source, “big data” tools
  • Monitoring public perceptions of, and participation in, the media campaign and outreach activities
  • Conducting SMS and in-person surveys to measure attitudes and behavior regarding violence, civic activism, government responsiveness and the social contract

Visit Us Online: www.state.gov/j/cso facebook.com/stateCSO twitter.com/stateCSO  

 

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