In line with its stated mandate, CPPBI has launched some key projects that are meant to build awareness about issues of peace and conflict. CPPBI’s activities are executed by its vastly experienced team, in collaboration with its medley of partners from the Multi-Track Diplomacy Spectrum, in tandem with the priceless contributions of volunteers and other critical stakeholders whose inputs have been crucial to the commendable successes of CPPBI’s strategies over the years. Some concluded and ongoing initiatives include:
Peace Journalism Seminars/Workshops
The Peace Journalism Seminars/Workshops series – a subunit of its Peace Education and Advocacy Program – is CPPBI’s attempt to engender the practice of peace Journalism in Africa. It is based on the recognition of the significant role the media plays as either an agent of peace or instrument of discord. The 1994 Rwanda Genocide – which was significantly instigated and escalated by the propagandistic misuse of the media – is a classic case of the deleterious consequences of the uncontrolled use of the media in conflict prone societies. While local media fuelled the killings, the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued what was happening.
Towards achieving its stated goal of complementing the efforts of other joint stakeholders in preventing the eruption of violent conflicts – or checking its spread – in Africa, CPPBI has organized Peace Journalism interfaces for some media organizations in Nigeria. The staff of The Nigerian Observer Newspapers, Ika Weekly, The Pointer Newspapers and the Media crew of the Deputy Governor of Edo State, have all benefited from these programs.
Democracy and Human Rights Monitoring
Democracy deficits, weak institutions and poor leadership are among the main challenges to the effective realization of human rights in Africa. CPPBI seeks to address these challenges through its advisory services and technical cooperation programs, which focus on strengthening the legal framework for human rights protection (institutional and legal reform); capacity building; empowering vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of the society; advocacy, awareness raising and human rights education. Towards this end, CPPBI has developed a Democracy and Human Rights Monitoring Initiative – which builds on its Conflict Tracking and Reporting Program – that is meant to help in tracking and ensuring the proper implementation and practice of the principles of democratic governance, and the practice and protection of human rights in Africa. It is meant to hold governments accountable to their citizens by ensuring that those charged with the task of piloting their affairs’ stay true to their oaths of office; that they practice what they preach. It is an initiative that is geared towards ensuring that the individuals’ rights under a democratic system are not brazenly violated or eroded by the captains of the ship of state.
Also, in transitional democracies and countries emerging from conflicts, CPPBI hopes to collaborate with national governments and actors to build strong and independent judiciaries, a representative, efficient and accountable parliament, an independent and effective national human rights institution and a vibrant civil society.
CPPBI, through this initiative, has provided leadership, advocacy and guidance on human rights and democracy issues, and has been contributing its quota to the formulation of human rights and democracy policies in Nigeria. The organization is in the process of commencing the drafting, preparation and publication of its inaugural annual Country Reports on Human Rights practices in Nigeria, and the Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report, which will be a summary of CPPBI’s strategies and activities for every calendar year. This report will be expanded to cover the rest of Africa in future.
Again, in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders in the peace project, CPPBI has developed a communication hub through which the practice of democracy and human rights in Nigeria and other African Countries are monitored and reported. Nigerians in America – an online forum – research reports, articles, position papers, et al are some of the outlets through which the organization has been reaching out to its target audience.
Voter Education Clinics
The dictatorial nature of the postcolonial African State, and its failures, have informed the debate on the democratization process in Africa and set the context for the recent spate of elections that have become the litmus test of a sincere commitment to democratic governance. Against this background, African elections and electoral systems have more missions and functions than their counterparts in Western countries. In Africa the type of electoral system and election is at the heart of the struggle between the defenders of the status quo and the champions of change.
Amongst others, elections must ensure the smooth transition to democratic governance. The most common issues in this respect relate to the authorship of the electoral law, the protection of constitutional rights and guarantees, notably the right to form political parties, the existence of an impartial electoral authority, the freeness and fairness of elections, voter eligibility, and the choice of electoral system. African elections and electoral systems also serve as a vehicle for conflict resolution. While African elections have brought regime changes they have not always ushered in a radical transformation of the State and democratic governance. Democracy needs to be consolidated and it is incumbent on all stakeholders to be interested in long-term results rather than short-term procedures.
CPPBI’s Voter Education Clinics – an arm of its Peace Education and Advocacy Program – are based on the thinking that electoral irregularities – key deficits of democracy in Africa – stems from gross ignorance on the part of the voting public, sheer impunity by the political class and general apathy by other major stakeholders as to what their true roles are/or should be in a democratic process; that the multiple challenges of rigging, ballot box snatching, intimidation, violence, financial inducements and other bulwarks against the holding of peaceful, free, fair and acceptable electoral contests are due largely to ignorance on the part of voters about their crucial roles in the democratic process.
CPPBI’s ongoing Voter Education Project – which commenced prior to the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria – has seen its team traversing the hinterlands of Nigeria in the organization’s efforts to help inculcate positive democratic ideals into Nigerians and build up their capacities for constructive participation in the processes of electing their leaders. Through a series of well packaged capacity building workshops, interactive seminars and other talk shops targeted at key stakeholders such as youth groups, political parties, community based associations, electoral officials, media organizations, security organizations et al, CPPBI has been able to spread its gospel of peaceful electoral processes to a broad spectrum of the populace.
The organization has been a key contributor to the awareness campaigns that have helped in positively transforming some stereotyped beliefs that the electoral processes in Nigeria are the preserve of the ruling class; ideas that have created an apathetic mindset among Nigerians. The painstaking efforts of CPPBI through its Voter Education Programs, in conjunction with the efforts of other key stakeholders, has positively influenced the commendable improvements in the outcomes of recent polls in Nigeria; tireless efforts towards charting a new path for democracy in Africa’s most populous country.
The Catch Them Young Initiative
The Catch Them Young Initiative – which builds on the Leadership Education Program – is premised on the observation that most acts of violence are predominantly perpetrated by youths who internalized negative societal values in the course of socialization. It is aimed at breaking the cycle of negative behaviour amongst young people through a unique blend of mentoring and mediation support, guiding them towards an alternative path to becoming better functioning adults and better citizens. The project’s key objective is to act as a resource for vulnerable, challenged and at risk young people by providing advice and assistance in tandem with the organization of programs of physical, educational and other activities as a means of:
- Helping young people by developing their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them function in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals;
- Advancing the educational potentials of youths; and
- Providing recreational activities in the interests of social welfare for people living in the areas of benefit who have need by reason of their youth, age, infirmity or disability, poverty or social and economic circumstances, with a view to improving the conditions of life of such persons.
In pursuit of the goal of catching them young, CPPBI has launched a series of leadership training programs in schools – primary, secondary and tertiary. These well crafted training programs are designed to help the young ones discover their hidden potentials in the early stages of their lives and channel these positive energies to more productive enterprises.
CPPBI has launched Peace Clubs in some schools in Nigeria. These clubs serve as forums where young minds converge from time to time to cross-fertilise ideas on issues of common interests; activities that are tailored towards producing individuals with non-adversarial mindsets. Peer Mediation Seminars/Workshops – and other socio-cultural activities depicting the utilitarian values of nonviolence – where mediation and conflict resolution skills are taught, forms the fulcrum of the activities under this initiative.
The initiative has been hugely successful in helping reform disaffected youngsters who struggle with mainstream education, helping to re-engage and encourage them to become responsible and trustworthy members of the society. Benson Idahosa University, Wellspring University, Horla Konsult Educational Academy are some of the institutions that are currently benefiting from activities under CPPBI’s Catch Them Young Initiative in Nigeria.
Early Warning Services
CPPBI’s Early Warning Services – a unit of its Conflict Tracking and Reporting Program -is a violence-tracking project that is designed to swap information on possible flashpoints with relevant stakeholder groups across government, security agencies, civil society and the donor community; a communication hub that facilitates information flow, rapidly stimulating stakeholders to intervene; a mechanism that can be utilized for tracking and reporting the signs of violent conflicts, with a view to suggesting possible entry points for preventive action by stakeholders
Making copious use of Media Reports, Research Findings, Existing Literature, Security Reports, Personal Contacts, Telephone Calls, Questionnaires and other information gathering tools, CPPBI has been able to package quality data on conflict trends and make its findings available to end users such as: the Nigerian Police, Army, Vigilante groups and other members of the multi-track diplomacy spectrum.
Inter-Religious Dialogue Clinics
With both Muslim and Christian populations in sub-Saharan Africa growing rapidly, issues of inter-faith relations have become increasingly explosive, despite all the measures that have been expedited to address the growing tensions between the two major faiths in countries across the continent who have had to grapple with these searing challenges over the years. From Nigeria to Egypt, Ivory Coast to Kenya and Tanzania, inter-religious conflicts have become Africa’s Albatross.
Fostering Interreligious harmony, through dialogue, has been one of the main thrusts of CPPBI’s activities over the years. This is in recognition of the significant roles religion plays in determining the level of peace and stability a society enjoys. The organization has been facilitating dialogue among key religious organizations and stakeholders – especially the continents chief religions: Christianity and Islam – in its efforts at engendering greater cooperation, harmony, tolerance and peaceful problem solving among the adherents of these religions.