The Radicalization Monitoring and Response Systems (RMRS) project is implemented in three states of the North-East: Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. The project was originally designed as an Early Warning intervention targeted at communities that had been hotspots for recruitment by the insurgent group Boko Haram in its early years. The aim of this was to empower communities with the understanding of signs and pathways of radicalisation, and enable critical stakeholders take action to identify and forestall potential signs of radicalisation from escalating. As the intervention progressed, it became necessary to consider Peace building and Reconciliation as part of an inclusive approach to preventing violence and promoting peaceful reintegration.
radicalisation, monitoring & response system
Having succeeded in helping communities understand and respond to radicalisation; the expansion of the project was necessitated due to the need to sustain the support for communities in responding to their own challenges, defining the conditions for peace and understanding the importance of reconciliation as a key part of reintegration. Overall the project seeks to:
The RMRS project comprises of three major components:
There is little evidence-based research which suggests context-appropriate models of reconciliation that would be acceptable to communities, and there are not many programmes that help communities facilitate peaceful dialogue towards reintegration of repentant former insurgents. To fill this gap, the RMRS project is conducting a comprehensive research which focuses on assessing the readiness of communities for reconciliation and the specific conditions for accepting repentant insurgents to their communities. It is expected that the research would not only inform future Transitional Justice projects by Neem Foundation; but also serve as a guide for humanitarian and development actors, policymakers, donors, and the government in supporting efforts aimed at achieving community reconciliation and conflict mitigation.
Community peacebuilding initiatives
- Peace Clubs: this initiative aims to involve school-aged children (across Primary and Secondary schools in our intervention communities) in the peacebuilding process through extra-curricular activities centred around peacebuilding themes. Peace Club members participate in specially designed club activities (delivered through Neem Foundation’s carefully crafted peacebuilding curriculum for individuals in conflict settings) that encourage them to think as peacebuilders. They also engage in community initiatives that encourage them to see the community as a microcosm of the nation and to see themselves as stakeholders responsible for the peace and progress of the community and in extension the nation.
- Peace through Sports: this activity targets youths and teenagers in host communities. Under this initiative, youngsters are engaged in sporting activities with rules specially designed to encourage peaceful competition and discourage discord/bitter rivalry. Additionally, these group of young individuals also take part in peace mentoring sessions as a part of the process of orienting them to embrace peace and tolerance in their interpersonal relations.
- Cooking for peace: is a peacebuilding initiative which progressively culminates in economic empowerment for women in target communities whose livelihoods have been affected by the insurgency. The initiative brings women together to discuss their challenges as well as topical and contextual peacebuilding issues in a Focus Group and explore recommendations for peace in their communities –after which they prepare special traditional meals as a celebration of culture and their heritage. The process ends with the empowerment of women with livelihoods’ resources to start their own small businesses.
Early Warning Early Response System
The RMRS programme supports non-punitive community-led early warning and early response mechanisms for monitoring and responding to radicalization and VE. Our Early Warning mechanism operates on two fronts. The EWER operates as a technological platform, where stakeholders send reports on incidents of radicalisation in their communities through the use of the Neem EWER mobile application. At the backend of this, reports are received, verified and validated or invalidated and then referred to the Early Warning Committee (EWC) for onward action and resolution. At the community level, we have Early Warning stakeholders who are members of the EWC, they discuss and take non-punitive action to address signs of radicalisation in their communities. Resolution is achieved through different means ranging from community level mediation and intervention, to state level engagement where security stakeholders and government MDAs are involved for the resolution of issues that may pose a greater threat than the community can handle.