Media Campaign Tackles Violent Extremism in Nigeria and Beyond

Speeches Shim

CAVE campaign film screening in Abuja
CAVE campaign film screening in Abuja
Films urge public to stand against radical ideology and destruction
“We, as a country, have to speak up against the scourge known as Boko Haram and violent extremism.”

March 2018—“I was shocked to see that things like this happened in northeast Nigeria, the same country where I live,” said Yemisi* following the screening of a documentary, “Evils of Boko Haram,” in the capital city of Abuja. Yemisi had never truly grasped the scale of Boko Haram’s destruction in the region.

Boko Haram and its separate ISIS-West Africa faction have been terrorizing northeast Nigeria since 2009 and 2016, respectively. In that time, Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands of people, kidnapped hundreds of schoolchildren and aid workers, and displaced more than 2.2 million people within Nigeria and the greater Lake Chad Basin.

Yemisi and others had never really considered violent extremism on a national scale before the Campaign against Violent Extremism (CAVE) began. Launched in January 2017, CAVE was a multimedia campaign that showcased life in northeast communities affected by violent extremism. Funded by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, CAVE used traditional media (television and radio), cinema screenings and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to target audiences in Nigeria and the greater Lake Chad Basin.

CAVE set out to reduce community appeal for radical and extremist groups by producing several media products, including the documentary “Evils of Boko Haram,” highlighting the scale of Boko Haram’s destruction in northeast Nigeria; a short film, “No Good Turn,” portraying the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack in the area; and a short Hausa language drama, “The Community,” depicting the effects of insurgency on community relations.

Over an eight-month period, the CAVE campaign hosted six cinema screenings of the films in northeast Nigeria and Abuja and distributed over 4,000 DVDs of the films nationwide. Each film was broadcast twice on satellite TV to over 56 countries worldwide, while the social media campaign amassed over 5,000 followers online. On social media, the campaign reached over 1.3 million people across the Lake Chad Basin, yielding success with regional viewers through Arabic and French translations of the “Evils of Boko Haram” documentary.

Based on feedback from viewers and social media commenters, the campaign created an avenue for people around the region to learn of the menace of violent extremism and the need for sustained anti-extremism campaigns.

“We, as a country, have to speak up against the scourge known as Boko Haram and violent extremism,” Yemisi said.

While there is still a lot to be done in countering extremist ideology, CAVE has increased the voices online and in the media standing against extremism in all its forms.

Since 2014, USAID has made considerable impact against insurgent groups Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, providing more than $57 million in stabilization assistance to help counter and prevent the factors that allow violent extremism to flourish, including feelings of marginalization and lack of economic opportunity.

*Name changed to protect identity.


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