On Tuesday, November 10, U.S. Embassy Niamey, in partnership with Niger’s Conseil National de la Jeunesse (National Youth Council, CNJ), and the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), hosted “TechCamp Connect Niamey: Voices for Peace.”  Twenty leaders from Diffa, Zinder, Agadez, and Niamey joined IIP, CNJ, and Embassy facilitators to discuss the types of radicalization they see in their communities and ways technology can be used to create and promote counter-narratives of peace and tolerance.  The leaders also participated in a Digital Video Conference with United States Institute expert Nadia Gerspacher, Director, Security Sector Education, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding.

This one-day event is the first of its kind and was held in preparation for a two-day TechCamp that will be held in Niamey in January 2016.  “TechCamp Connect Niamey: Voices for Peace” will serve a model for IIP’s future TechCamp engagements.  TechCamps are two-day, fully interactive workshops that connect leading technology experts as trainers with local civil society organizations to build digital capacity and co-create solutions to real world challenges.

In January, U.S. Embassy Niamey, CNJ, and IIP will host 60 youth and religious leaders from across Niger and the Sahel.  Participants and technology experts will build upon the lessons learned in the November “Voices for Peace” program, working hand-in-hand to co-create on-the-spot solutions and strategies to counter extremist messages using low-cost, easy-to-implement technologies.