Timbuktu Institute Supports Advocacy for Civil-Military Dialogue in the Lake Chad Basin Spécial

As part of supporting efforts for a communication strategy and the development of an Action Plan for further civil-military dialogue in areas affected by the Boko Haram abuses, the director of the Timbuktu Institute, Dr. Bakary Sambe, conducted consultations in Diffa (Niger) and MaIduguri in Borno State, (Nigeria).
The consultation session in Diffa, whose working language was French, brought together religious and traditional leaders from Cameroon, Niger and Chad from different affected areas. The other session held in Maiduguri in Northeastern Nigeria, again with the support of UNDP, brought together ulemas, Muslim scholars, youth representatives and women's organizations who reiterated their commitment to engage in dialogue and sensitization activities in their communities.

These consultations were part of the implementation of Pillar 8 of the Lake Chad Basin Regional Stabilization Strategy for the Prevention of Violent Extremism supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 
It should be recalled that in this framework, the UNDP is providing significant support to the Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and also to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), as well as supporting the African Union in its efforts in the region.

A holistic approach based on the credibility of interlocutors
The overall objective of these consultation workshops, facilitated by the director of the Timbuktu institute, was to conduct closed community sessions for the drafting of the civil-military action plan on strategic communication for the prevention of violent extremism. 
It was through a dialogue between community representatives from the affected areas discussing, among other things, the role of military actors, exploring possibilities for cooperation through dialogue and sharing experiences in a frank manner, and proposing operational recommendations.  

These consultations, conducted in an inclusive manner, presented the experiences and direct knowledge of the affected regions on the challenges and opportunities for collaboration with military and law enforcement actors to combat violent extremism in the Lake Chad Basin.

The open dialogue and inclusive discussions identified important avenues for revitalizing and strengthening networks of local chiefs and traditional leaders in the affected regions for effective communication and information sharing to prevent violent extremism through effective communication with communities against extremist and violent ideologies.

"This initiative is a real innovation in terms of community involvement and the valorization of endogenous strategies"
Bakary Sambe, director of the Timbuktu Institute, which has developed several counter-narrative strategies and initiatives to prevent violent extremism in both the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, said the UNDP approach could inspire some Sahelian countries. 
According to him, "the originality of this innovative approach through UNDP's mobilization and engagement with states and communities was to leverage the input, contributions and social legitimacy of community leaders in the prevention of violent extremism. This approach, which should enable significant progress in the medium term, was above all based on a methodology that takes full account of endogenous cultural resources in order to facilitate their subsequent appropriation and acceptance by the communities".