From left: Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development; Zuwaira Gambo, UNODC Country Representative, Dr. Oliver Stolpe and State Director, National Orientation Agency; Hajiya Zainab Jidda.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC, through its STRIVE Juvenile project, joined hands with the Borno State Government to celebrate the inspiring achievements of young people and communities in promoting peace and protecting children from conflict at an exciting event held on November 16, 2023, in Maiduguri.

Participants witnessed UNODC handing over three Community Dialogue Structures to the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and National Orientation Agency. The Community Dialogue Structures bring together selected STRIVE Juvenile ‘Youth Peace Champions’ – who have been trained and mentored by UNODC – and Community Leaders to facilitate crucial dialogue and conflict resolution. “Together, they form a formidable alliance in our journey towards a harmonious and united Borno State” noted Hajiya Zainab Jidda, State Director, National Orientation Agency.

The handover ceremony marked a significant milestone in UNODC’s work to empower communities to achieve the vision of Governor Zulum’s Borno Model by promoting a culture of peace and resilience. “Amidst this adversity, we have witnessed an indomitable spirit of resilience and determination among the young minds of Borno. They have proven themselves to be the torchbearers of hope, eager to bring about positive change and sow the seeds of peace.” stated Zuwaira Gambo, Honorable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development.

The event also saw the launch of a short video documentary, ‘Stories of Resilience’, directed by young local filmmaker Musa Gwary.  The film reveals seldom-told stories of hope glimpsed through the shadows of Boko Haram’s violence; and showcases the influential contribution that STRIVE Juvenile Youth Peace Champions’ are making in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere Local Government Areas in Borno. It is a call to action that will raise awareness; mobilize community support; and foster transformative actions.

An exhibition of photographs, produced by STRIVE Juvenile in partnership with the Borno State Art and Culture Council, concluded the event, providing attendees with a visual narrative that echoed the resilience and strength demonstrated by the people of Borno State.

The UNODC project, STRIVE Juvenile: Preventing and Responding to Violence against Children by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups is funded by the European Union and works to develop and implement comprehensive national responses to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism affecting children, in full respect of human rights, gender equality and international law.

UNODC remains dedicated to supporting Nigeria implement the Borno Model; provide a secure and peaceful environment for children; and counter the effects of terrorism.