The town of Duékoué was at the epicenter of the 2010-2011 post-electoral violence in Côte d’Ivoire, where small-scale tensions escalated into major violence and destruction of property.
This explosion of tension was heightened by youth circulating exaggerated and often wholly inaccurate information in the community. In the violence recovery process, youth remain pivotal in addressing underlying tensions and distrust within communities like Duékoué.
As part of ongoing efforts to heal communities, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives supported weekly youth meetings in Duékoué between March and June 2013 to dispel rumors of attacks and create confidence. However, the impact of these meetings was limited to those in attendance, hampering the activity’s ability to diffuse tensions throughout the community.
To further engage youth as vital contributors to the spread of reliable information within their communities, USAID expanded the program to train youth from different ethnic groups as community reporters. The training helped them to develop dialogue between communities to support cohesion.
“We are already a family, and we will make the effort to be welded,” said one participant. “The fact that we reunite here is already a positive move.”
The youth learned how to independently produce relevant content about their own lives. The training also incorporated local “listening groups” to coach the youth on using local media to share these stories with a wider audience.
“The listening groups are the eyes and the mouth of the population,” said Guéhaoin Gabriel, program director of a local radio station. “In communities with more reporters, sources of information will be reinforced.”
Last updated: April 24, 2014