Youth Initiative Against Violence & Human Rights Abuse (YIAVHA) started its work in September 2014 and formally registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on 25 May 2016.
The organisation was founded with a core mandate of building a society anchored on youth engagement for sustainable peace and development through peace building, protection of human rights, promoting good governance and research and documentation. YIAVHA has given young people a platform through which they can contribute to their core mandate and most importantly have a voice.
The organisation is engaged in a variety of activities:
- They organised a town-hall meeting prior to the last general elections in Nigeria. This was aimed at creating a platform for discussion with youth on their role towards a peaceful general election and the need to participate.
- YIAVHA also arranged small group dialogues in selected communities of Plateau state on the need to imbibe a culture of tolerance and dialogue instead of resorting to violent responses that young people are known for. The dialogues were attended by women, youth (both male and female) and people living with disabilities.
- The organisation also carried out a pilot project to train youth on content development for active social media users so that they can always be conflict sensitive in their social media engagement. Due to financial constraints the pilot project was limited to 11 young people, but YIAVHA hope to continue this work. The decision to start this pilot project was based on youth engaging in so-called social media wars during electioneering, a practice increasing societal divisions. The young people that had been trained in the project were monitored and it was found that they acted more conflict sensitive in discussions.
- Another YIAVHA project was to create a platform offering clarifications on the challenges of the distribution of Permanent Voter’s Cards – an issue that caused some tensions in an already religiously and politically charged area.
- Young people, who attended YIAVHA’s youth programme felt motivated to engage with politics. For example, Wesly Bege became a candidate for the election of the state house of assembly. Although he was defeated in the election, he was able to become personal assistant to the chairman of the ruling party in the state. Some young people who attended the youth programme decided to assist with maintaining law and order in their communities during the election.
- The organisation reduced the chances of election day violence in the state as a result of an awareness campaign for the need of orderly conduct during and after the 2015 general elections through media engagement using Radio (Unity FM).
- As an organisation with special interest in human rights protection, they have assisted in offering pro bono legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse. Their human rights team has mediated between families. They have addressed issues of child sexual abuse in collaboration with other actors in the state.
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