OURmindaNOW: Alternative Messaging Hub in Mindanao, Philippines
EAI is strengthening capacities of local organizations to build resilience to violent extremism and counter radicalization and recruitment efforts of armed groups in Mindanao.
Project of, Philippines, Global Engagement Center with Rand Corporation
EAI is strengthening capacities of local organizations to build resilience to violent extremism and counter the ideologies and recruitment efforts of armed groups in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. This U.S. State Department-funded project builds on EAI’s successful messaging hub model for countering violent extremism (CVE), which is also being implemented in Northern Nigeria and East Africa.
The youth-led Alternative Messaging Hub, re-named OURmindaNOW (to resonate with Mindanaoans), took the form of active social media campaigns, stakeholder workshops, Tech Camps and Hackathons, mentorship for Peace Promotion Fellows, community outreach events, production and broadcast of radio programs on youth radicalization and empowerment, positive messaging, and behavior change.
To learn all about OURmindaNOW and their amazing accomplishments, be sure to check out their website!
Alternative Messaging Strategies
Early in the project, staff developed alternative messaging strategies and conducted outreach activities to identify and characterize at-risk populations. Research helped us understand and assess the media landscape, particularly social media and radio, map local CVE actors and influencers, and identify potential program participants and partners. This research formed the basis for the creation of our parallel network/ecosystem strategy for most effective communications. As a result of the research phase, we were able to outline and map recruitment and radicalization efforts of violent extremist organizations, develop a CVE toolkit that was adapted to target populations and locations and distributed to partners and CVE practitioners, and hold two stakeholder workshops.
As the project has evolved, it can be clearly organized into several key activities.
Since the beginning of the project, staff has concentrated on building the capacity of credible young leaders and influencers to counter ISIS, related groups, and violent extremism both online and offline in identified affected communities to develop quality, credible, and culturally-resonant local language content. We trained 10 trainers to lead local language Tech Camps in target areas across Mindanao. These 10 trainers have become key CVE influencers and messengers and are now leading subsequent five-day Tech Camp programs in various locations that aim to engage and recruit youth leaders and CVE actors. Tech Camp participants are chosen from the target geographic zones based on existing commitment, activities, and knowledge in the areas of CVE, social influencing, technology for development, media training, and community peacebuilding and social cohesion.
Following the Tech Camps, we sponsor annual hackathon competitions for Tech Camp graduates and the general public, in which individuals form groups to develop targeting messaging campaigns and other tech-driven solutions in response to identified CVE themes. Hackathon participants use the skills and tools learned in the Tech Camps. Winning projects are awarded small grants to develop and implement campaigns and tech-driven projects that engage vulnerable and/or tech-savvy youth as CVE, tech, and social change leaders.
Peace Promotion Fellowships
Also at the end of each Tech Camp, we identify 20 high-performing graduates to become Peace Promotion Fellows and participate in a six-month fellowship program. We provide ongoing mentoring, a monthly stipend, and support as they develop and implement innovative CVE messaging projects that include tech strategies and community-based interventions.
Click on the images below to learn about some of our Peace Promotion Fellows and their projects.
We have developed two popular radio programs that amplify messages of peace: the 48-episode “Saranggola” radio drama and the 24-episode “OURmindaNOW” Radio Magazine Program.
“Saranggola” is divided into three key themes: youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, and governance.
The “OURminaNOW” magazine show is divided into several sections: a peace news alert, a talk show segment with live or phone interviews, a review of Saranggola themes, and contributions of original songs and poems by Tech Campers, partners, and others.
To strengthen visibility and local ownership of our mission for peace and development in Mindanao, we lead community forums and outreach events intended to open opportunities for policy consultations, peace dialogues, and empowerment sessions.
COVID-19 has changed everything, including our programming in the Philippines. Our talented and hardworking staff did not miss a beat, however, and quickly pivoted their priorities to create the “COVID-19 Updating Platform.” Available from the OURmindaNOW website, this platform provides important links, the latest statistics and trends throughout the country and Mindanao, and most important, “Social Cards.” Learn more about Social Cards here.
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