Toward Nonviolent Elections in the Niger Delta – Training of State and Local Government Coordinators.

The 39 coordinators being led in a brainstorming exercise on election violence by Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni, Executive Director, AA PeaceWorks

The 39 coordinators being led in a brainstorming exercise on election violence by Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni, Executive Director, AA PeaceWorks

AA PeaceWorks facilitated a training programme for the State and Local Government Coordinators identified for the nonviolent election project funded by Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). The project is being implemented in three States in the Niger Delta – Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States.

The training held from Thursday, 15th January to Sunday, 18 January 2015 in Port Harcourt Rivers State. A total of 39 coordinators were in attendance.

This training programme is the first activity in the workplan for the project and is designed to equip the coordinators with the needed skills for effectively discharging their responsibilities in the project.  The intensive three day training included the following topics:

  • Experiential Learning
  • All aspects of election violence
  • Working with the security agencies
  • Working with INEC
  • Constructive engagement of youth at risk
  • Citizen reporting
  • Conflict management and transformation
  • Conflict sensitivity
  • Advocacy and lobbying
  • Formations of CSNs and organization of Town Hall Meetings
  • Keeping participants safe
  • Media Component of the Election Project
  • Advocacy and lobbying

Top officers from the Nigerian Police Force and DSS gave presentations on how the coordinators can work with the security agencies to curb violence during the conduct of the 2015 elections. Several journalists also discussed how we can work with the media for nonviolent elections.

Francis Onahor of Reclaimnaija facilitated an interesting session on citizen reporting and voter education using the reclaimnaija.net platform – www.reclaimnaija.net. At the end of the session, dozens of coordinators volunteered to work as election observers during the 2015 general elections. Others will be recruited from among Community Stakeholder Networks and volunteers on the local government level.

At the end of the training, each of the three states developed an action plan.

Key facilitators include the Executive Director of AA PeaceWorks, Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni who brought her expertise in conflict and Peace studies to help participants understand conflict mitigation strategies. Fourteen coordinators who have worked with PeaceWorks on previous projects shared their experiences on how to make the project a success.