The Securing Nigerian Communities (SNC) is a project that Equal Access International (EAI) implements which seeks to increase access to information, equip key stakeholders with practical violence reduction tools, and forge new social connections across conflicting groups while addressing the systemic inequities that present barriers to human security.
The EAI team enhances the capacity of key community members, media, local and state government institutions, civil society organizations, and security actors to increase CivSec; Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) systems; women and youth participation in decision-making; and effective communication flow among targeted communities, civil society, the media, and government agencies. EAI leveraged the expertise of the CLEEN foundation to train and mentor its CivSec structures.
These approaches are coupled with a focus on community-led trauma healing. The project is built around the theory of change that IF at-risk communities have the tools, platforms, information, and agency to build social cohesion and trust in public institutions, AND these tools and platforms are inclusive of traditionally marginalized groups THEN conflict- and crime-related violence in assisted communities will be reduced, BECAUSE this enables the government, civil society, and security sector to work together efficiently and effectively to strengthen localized prevention and response efforts.
Project locations: The project targeted 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria’s Northwest and Middle Belt regions; Nasarawa LGA, Ungogo, Gezawa LGA (Kano State); Jema’a LGA, Kajuru LGA, Chikun LGA (Kaduna State); Agatu LGA, Guma LGA and Gwer West LGA and (Benue State) and Riyom LGA, Barkin Ladi LGA, and Jos South LGA (Plateau State) The paradigm shift: The Equal Access International’s Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) system, implemented in specific Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Northwestern and North-central Nigeria, deviates from a universal approach by focusing on targeted regions and employing community-driven mechanisms.
The system revolves around Community Civilian Platforms (CSPs), consisting of vigilant local residents who monitor, analyze, and report potential threats to a response system. Additionally, the Community Accountability Forum (CAF) at the LGA level, involving security personnel, traditional leaders, and political figures, acts as the first responders. Notably, the EWER system is adaptable to the unique context of each LGA, allowing the civilian security structures to tailor the approach to their available resources and local circumstances. This localized strategy acknowledges regional, cultural, and resource variations, ensuring that the response is sensitive to local needs and conditions.
What the Platforms do: The EAI’s EWER system’s key functions encompass targeted implementation, community-driven monitoring and reporting, collaborative response, context-specific adaptation, and a focus on cultural sensitivity and community engagement thereby preventing and/or de-escalation of violence in each of the targeted LGAs.