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 CVE messaging hub model, which is also being implemented in Northern Nigeria and East Africa.

The youth-led Alternative Messaging Hub, re-named OURmindaNOW (to resonate with Mindanaoans), has taken 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.

Alternative Messaging Strategies

One of the first objectives of the project was to develop alternative messaging strategies and conduct outreach activities to identify and characterize at-risk populations. Research helped us to 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.

Tech Camps, Peace Promotion Fellowships, and Hackathons

The next step was to build 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 campaignand tech-driven projects that engage vulnerable and/or tech-savvy youth as CVE, tech, and social change leaders 

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 our most recent group of Peace Promotion Fellows and their projects.

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