In action

The effectiveness of the recruitment strategies of extremists groups showcases their deep understanding of communication, marketing and social media tools. That is why The Club de Madrid (CdM) is implementing its project Preventing Violent Extremism: Leaders Telling a Different Story (2016-2017). The project aims at strengthening counter-narrative messaging and producing a multi-dimensional response to extremist propaganda. To this end, a process of regional and national consultations was developed in the key countries selected: Nigeria, Tunisia and Lebanon.

In this video, Dr. Drew Michael presents the main findings and lessons learned from the focus group that took place in Abuja, Nigeria, this past January. The focus group provided evidence-based findings on how citizens receive and perceive messages from violent extremist groups and identified the channels through which those messages are conveyed.

The presentation includes interesting remarks on the pattern of information consumption in Nigeria, the intense gender dynamic exploited by Boko Haram and the ways in which radical and counter-radical messages impact the most vulnerable sectors of the population: “The messages don’t really matter, what matters is the Government’s reaction and what happens on the ground. (…) Assuming that counter messages are going to be a panacea for the recruitment to radical groups is a false and dangerous notion.”

Dr. Mikhael is the lead researcher and principal investigator of the PVE: Leaders Telling a Different Story project, which attempts to bridge the gap between civil society and governments in understanding how to best prevent violent extremism (PVE) by creating posotive messages, enhancing citizens’ voices and fostering government’s accountability.