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Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

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Co-Existence

Supporting Leaders

Tackling religious extremism starts at the community level and requires the support and initi­ative of influential and trusted religious and community leaders. But these leaders often lack the training, resources and support needed to prevent propagation of extremist ideology and recruitment to its cause.

We work with these people to build their skills and experience. We help them grow their capacity to identify and tackle religious extremism within their spheres of influence through counter-narratives and practical community action. In turn, this builds greater social cohesion and community resilience to extremism. Our programme empowers religious leaders to take ownership of ini­tiatives that counter local extremist narratives in their communities.

Our strategic partnerships with local and international institutions seek to deepen the understanding and communication of mainstream religious thinking and cooperation in a globalised world.

NIGERIA

Delivered bespoke ‘training the trainer’ packages for 34 trainers and facilitators from the Development Initiative of West Africa (DIWA)

We support them to develop their capacity to train and support religious leaders in their networks, in order to build individual and community resilience to extremist narratives, and build social cohesion.

Our 'train the trainer' model provides delivery partners with intensive and bespoke courses on designing training courses, delivering training, conducting monitoring and evaluation, and developing resources to build institutional capability, including planning and proposal writing.  Course content includes Islamic studies, and conflict transformation skills such as dialogue, mediation, problem-analysis, and communications. The courses provide a ‘safe-space’ within which to build trust and mutual respect between leaders of the same faith and different faiths.

Our trained partners then deliver comprehensive, interactive training courses of up to 10 weeks to local religious leaders, and provide ongoing support to a growing network of participants and their communities.  

Since 2014, Supporting Leaders Nigeria, supported by the GHR Foundation, has:

  • Delivered UK-based residential workshops for 48 Muslim and Christian religious leaders from North-eastern Nigeria.
  • Delivered bespoke ‘training the trainer’ packages for 34 trainers and facilitators from the Development Initiative of West Africa (DIWA), who with the Kukah Centre have trained 31 Muslim leaders and 34 Christian leaders from Gombe, Kano and Yobe States.
  • Supported participants to continue to deliver workshops and events in their communities and via media to reach thousands vulnerable to extremist messaging.

Bulama Bukarti, a Muslim lawyer from Kano State in northern Nigeria, explains how our programme supporting leaders in Nigeria has helped him become an advocate for peace.

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One thing we wanted from the Foundation was to help us with better training methods, better project management, build the skills of the facilitators, not just to be able to deliver their message more effectively and impactfully, but to help them with even better content’.

Nurudeen Lemu Development Initiative of West Africa

"The workshop has also assisted me in recognizing the fact that I am also guilty of some hate speech before I came to the workshop and I am sure to change the way I message my audience the next time I have an opportunity to speak after this workshop."  A Muslim Participant

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The election went on very peacefully in Zaria and indeed the whole country today. This is a breakthrough for world peace and democracy. We salute TBFF [now TBI-CE] and the international community for making this the most peaceful election ever.

A Christian Participant Nigeria

WORKSHOPS

UK-based residential workshops for 48 Muslim and Christian religious leaders from North-eastern Nigeria.

 

Since 2015, Supporting Leaders Egypt has supported 81 emerging Muslim leaders from 15 Sub-Saharan Africa countries to attend a 10-week residential course delivered by leading experts from the World Association of Al-Azhar Graduates, whose Mosque and University lie at the heart of Sunni identity globally.

EGYPT

Part of the 10-week residential course delivered by leading experts from the World Association of Al-Azhar Graduates.

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...when I go back I will integrate some of the Imams and Pastors…What is the first problem we face when we go back? Some of us will say this one burned my house and this one take my items from my house, this one, this problem, we will face it, I know it, so I will try to solve this problem before it happens.

A Course Participant Egypt

To find out more about how you can get involved email us at: supportingleaders@institute.global

Christopher Rider Head of Supporting Leaders, Co-existence

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