In his visit to Niger, the USAID Associate Administrator, Mr. Eric Postel, met with senior Islamic and Christian leaders on July 9, 2015 to discuss their recent attendance at a Regional Religious Leaders Conference against Violent Extremism in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Supported by USAID’s Peace through Development II program, the conference brought together senior religious leaders from Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger to explore the role that religious leaders can play in countering violent extremism and engaging youth.
The hour-long discussion between the Mr. Postel and the religious leaders highlighted the various ways these leaders seek to promote youth employment or economic activities, as well as social and political inclusion for youth. The talk further underlined the critical role that that these leaders play in their communities as key influencers.
The gathered religious leaders explained how conference attendees had drafted a framework for combating violent extremism across the countries, dubbed the “Ouagadougou Roadmap.” Each country delegation has committed to developing specific short-term and long-term Action Plans for implementing the Roadmap. The delegation will soon meet in Zinder to socialize the conference outcomes and discuss Niger’s draft Action Plan with a broad swath of Nigerien Islamic and Christian leaders.