DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Local groups have launched an initiative that aims to help the youth understand the various peace-building efforts in combating extremism in Mindanao.
The initiative is the creation of a messaging hub, an online-offline platform created by Al Qalam Institute of the Ateneo de Davao University and Equal Access International.
Al Qalam Institute is the technical working group assigned to gathering messages to create counter-narratives, alternative narratives, and best practices. It has partnered with Equal Access International, which will be the online platform to disseminate peace-building information and efforts.
The messaging hub is an avenue for the youth to talk and come up with positive efforts to engage in peace-building activities in the midst of massive recruitment of extremism in Mindanao, the groups said.
Both Al Qalam and Equal Access International said the youth in Mindanao, for the longest time, have been the target of recruitment in extremist groups in the area.
Kenny Angon of Al Qalam Institute said that during the recent siege in Marawi City, many young people of the city were enticed into joining “terrorist” groups allegedly linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Angon said, “The messaging hub…will accommodate people to learn the various efforts related to peace-building programs to go beyond preventing and countering violent extremism.”
He added that aside from the messaging hub, the group will also maximize other platforms like the media, and organize forums and talks to ensure that the effort will surely reach the target audience.(davaotoday.com)