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[EIU in the World] DoLaFiya Campaign Promoting Peace and Religious Tolerance Amongst Nigerian Youths
  • 28/01/22
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Mr. IniOluwa Odejunle, a Nigerian youth participant of the 7th Youth Leadership Workshop on GCED, has initiated a project ‘DoLaFiya’ to promote peace and religious tolerance through dialogue among young Nigerians.  

In recent times Nigeria has been battling rising religious crises, which have been fueled by factors including political, tribal, and social narratives. Print and digital news headlines are typically filled with sensational stories commonly about religious tensions and killings. Trending topics easily degenerate into geopolitical, tribal and religious lines. Youths are increasingly being affected and their perspective about their fellow humans is being negatively shaped through these divisive stories and conversations which seem to always attract headlines and buzz.

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DoLaFiya aimed to highlight positive stories surrounding inter-religious engagements using video storytelling. The team of DoLaFiya believes that stories of Christians and Muslims whose lives intersect peacefully, positively and productively exist, and they wanted to change the prevalent narrative by sharing such stories. DoLaFiya is a combination of three words each taken from the 3 main Nigerian tribes which all mean peace.

Meaning of Dolafiya

 

In August 2021, DoLaFiya began documenting stories; first they documented the story of a pastor based in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria who founded an NGO that works to maintain peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians. They also documented the story of a Christian and a Muslim who had built friendship spanning over 3 decades since their university days. They also produced a vox-pop style montage video (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fE88YIDDDUtnRa0xslyBFGhz8jx1uyAh) on the streets of Lagos, showing the similarities between the average Muslims and Christians on the streets.

  

BTS Photo 1         BTS Photo 2 

 

As part of the project a website was setup up to host the various elements including the documentary videos, a tolerance survey and a series of podcast discussions. The website also acts as a convenient landing page where all information about the project can easily be found.

 

Highlights of the Activity:

 

Storytelling Production

DoLaFiya tried to make the stories to be as authentic as possible. The goal was to paint the possibility of a peaceful and productive coexistence by presenting real life examples, rather than directly telling people ‘what or what not’ to do. DoLaFiya wanted the relevance and relatedness of the story to drive people to self-reflection that ultimately goes on to promote positive inter-religious interactions. The stories were to be narrative and organic in order to preserve the element of raw conversations. Visually they portrayed it as Christian and Muslim friends having a reminiscent conversation about peace, collaboration, and their lives.

Still 7

 

Post-production was handled in Lagos and the first documentary was released in September, while the second documentary was released in November. As of the 28th January 2022, both videos have organically gained over 3,100 views . 

 

Bridging Conversations Podcast

As part of efforts to sustain the conversation surrounding religious tolerance, they launched a weekly podcast in November 2021 focused on presenting polarized viewpoints ad facilitating socially relevant discussions to promote peace, understanding and societal development.

So far, two episodes have been released featuring seasoned social workers, peace activists and professionals in Nigeria. 

 

Impacts:

“Just listened to this and it’s so great. The government is not doing enough, they aren’t intentional about promoting national unity or Ethno-religious tolerance. I am borrowing some ideas from this which our NGO can use.” - Mr. Bobola Omowon, Peacebuilding Expert

 

“So touching. Each one was talking about the qualities and achievements of the other, amazing. We need this type of inspirational stories to make our world a better place. Thanks to the Identity Project for the good work ‘well done’. - Azeez Haafiz, YouTube comment section

 

“I am impressed and that was the kind of Nigeria we were all brought up in, especially in Lagos very early in the sixties. My best friend in the primary school is named Fatia Kehinde we are still close friends till date. He’s a practicing Muslim while I am a Christian.” - Taiwo Fagbemi, YouTube comment section

 

IniOluwa says that the team is grateful for the opportunity to contribute towards changing the narrative surrounding religious tolerance. Although this was the first of such digital campaigns they are happy with the reach and immense feedback they received from the community.

 

The most difficult part was getting people comfortable enough to share their stories. They look forward to improving the quality of their social media content in order to increase engagement. They also aim to explore more nuances in the storytelling and improve the quality of visual production.

 

They will continue hosting podcast conversations that can enlighten people about religious tolerance. They hope to move this conversation to the radio stations and work on documenting more impactful stories.

 

Subsequently they plan to organize fun physical/digital pop-up events that encourage artistic expression and creative storytelling amongst the Nigerian youths while leveraging this for positive social impact.

 

Link of the videos produced

Over 30 years of Friendship between a Christian and Muslim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-nTzdXjRpw 

Building Religious Tolerance and Peace in Nigeria: DoLaFiya Campaign Part 1 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m7Jl7d5x4c