A set of 30 young persons have this week been trained on how to deploy digital illustrations and related animatronics to communicate peace messages in Borno state.
The training was done by Co-Development Hub, a Maiduguri based innovative social enterprise under its new project – “Animation for Peace.”
The weeklong training enabled the trainees to acquire novel skills of using digital devices to convey peace messages that come as alternative narratives to the extreme ideology that drives the Boko Haram insurgency.
Co-Development Hub says its ‘Animation4Peace’ project intends to push out positive narratives via visual impressions with less emphasis on spoken or written words.
“We are focusing on using art that depicts the positive things we could do as individuals to change the narratives,” said Musa Gwary, the project manager, ‘Animation for Peace’, at Co-Development Hub.
“We believe that through cartoon designs we can build peace and change the narratives in the northeast.
Muhammad Umara, the Executive Director of Co-Dev Hub, said his organization has, over the years “mobilized many young people in the northeast, exposing them to creative and innovative skills while championing social advocacy using their talents and creativity.”
“That is why for this project entitled “Animation4Peace”, we have selected a group of 30 young men and women through a call for application, trained them in both the technical animation design and Peacebuilding social skills while exposing them to skills for effective communication of positive narrative messages using their skills”.
High points of the training were the production of captivating graphics by the participants.
One of the trainees, Halima Abubakar, 23, said: “I have not only improved my knowledge on peacebuilding but I have also been empowered with a skill in creative animation which I believe would help me in fighting against violence especially against women and girls.
“Now I can draw and illustrate captivating peace messages without necessarily writing them in words,” she said.
Ms Halima said she also advocated against gender-based violence, a passion she believed would be advanced with the new communication strategy she had acquired during the weeklong training.
Elizabeth Kwaja, a 20 years old 300-level student of agricultural science at the University of Maiduguri said “I have learnt how to communicate peace without using words but pictures and cartoons.”
“Ms. Kwajafa said though she applied for the training because she is a born artist, the skills she was exposed to has further deepened her love for arts as a means of communication.”
“I have always had a passion for drawing, but I have never considered drawing as a means through which I can communicate peace. Yes, I have seen how religious extremism has divided our society and with what I have learnt here I think as youth we have a lot to offer in the peace building process.”
Muhammad Aliyu, 18, said; “in the past five days, we have learnt about how we can provide positive and alternative narratives to communicate against violent extremism in our society.”
The teenage student of the University of Maiduguri, who also runs an outfit called Arewa Youth Development Forum, said the training has exposed him to newer approaches to communicating positively for the betterment of the youth in the northeast.
“I never thought I could learn animation and illustrations. It’s so exciting to see that I now make meaningful designs and I can’t wait to start using it to give the other side of the untold stories,” said Maryam Abdullahi, a 19-year-old participant
Muhammad Abdullahi, a 22 years old trainee said; “This project has opened my eyes to not only a creative skill like Animation and Illustration but has shown me how to use my creative skills for social development.
“As we continue to learn through this innovation hub, I am using my acquired skills to shine a light on some of the issues bedevilling my community using the skills I learnt”
Naomi Barka, an intern with Co-Dev Hub, said the training exposes her to new ideas of how to pass the information on peace to the public without necessarily doing it in oral or written form.
“Now I can easily do advocacy for peace without worrying about ppmpF0 said.
Hauwa Mohammed, 24, said the animation for the peace project provided her with a rare opportunity to understand the concept of graphic illustration and animating a message.
“Now that I’ve learned this skill, my goal is to become an ambassador of peace through special messaging on the social media platforms,” said Ms Hauwa, another intern at Co-Dev Hub.
The Humanitarian Times gathered that the actual project for Animation for Peace starts immediately after the training, which requires moving into the field by producing captivating peace messages and sharing the same on their various social media platforms.