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Cameroon Field Guide: Mitigating violence and hate speech online and offline for a #HateFreeCameroon

The #defyhatenow Social Media Hate Speech Mitigation Field Guide is a guide for community leaders, grassroots associations, civil society organizations and influencers to educate and mitigate directed online hate speech and induced conflict within and outside affected regions in Cameroon. 

The guide offers tools and strategies that can be used by peace builders and entire communities to engage in peacebuilding activities online, and offline in Cameroon. This package is designed for use ‘in the field’ and includes training materials and workshop resources with the aim to raise awareness, develop counter- narratives, and mitigate violence related to online hate speech. It is also imperative to talk about ways to counter communication that fosters a climate of prejudice and intolerance, misinformation and disinformation as they are ingredients for violence and conflicts. 

Divided into six chapters namely; Social Media and Conflict, Social Media Use and Fact-Checking, Peacebuilding through Art and Technology, Identity, Mental Health, Trauma, and Healing, Common Hate Speech Expressions in Cameroon and the Facilitator Notes; it offers tools for championing peacebuilding initiatives through the various posters included in the package. This guide acts as a base against action on media-induced hate speech,  supports media literacy and addresses issues of migration and displacement. Developed and compiled by the r0g_agency through the #defyhatenow initiative with selected excerpts from materials published by collaborative partner organizations & networks from Cameroon and South Sudan. 

The Field Guide package Contains key documentation; 

  • One A4 Field Guide Booklet
  • A5 Flashcards, 
  • A1 Poster & Game, 
  • A2 Posters
  • 1 Dice 
  • A USB ‘Key’
  • 1 ‘PenNotGun’
  • 2 packs of post-it sticky notes
  • 1 sturdy pouch

This Field Guide was launched online on June 24, 2022, engaging different actors to share perspectives on the use of the field guide in a bid to view avenues to tackle peace processes on/offline. In this a series of onsite sessions previewed to run from June to November 2022; Civic Watch the Implementing Partner of #defyhatenow in Cameroon will run activities in Douala, Maroua, Buea and Bamenda. The Yaoundé session is the first which shall be engaging actors for concrete actions in the Center region. Target Beneficiaries include but not limited to media professionals, Community Organizations, Government Officials, Educationists, Students, selected youths from the Center region. 

After the online official launch of the Cameroon Field Guide, it was time to move on to the implementation proper, engaging local communities to limit violence and conflicts starting with Yaounde. To this end, from July 22 to 23, 2022, a working session was held to train community-based organizations working in the domain of peace building, in the effective use of this defyhatenow strategic resource tool to mitigate hate speech and conflicts in Cameroon. The key objective was for participants to gain additional skills on the responsible use of Social Media, communication technology and identity as vectors for promoting peace & social cohesion but most importantly to provide them materials that will guide them during their different outreach programs on peace building.

At this two day event, we key presentations on the Field Guide Cameroon second edition, on Social media and conflict, the role of peace builders (journalists, educationist, civil society organizations and the authority) in mitigating hate speech, incitement to violence and fake news online and on the cycle of socialization in the contexte with common hate speech expressions in Cameroon. After which we had a detailed description and explanation of the A1 flashcards, the posters and the Field Guide game. The game presentation was one of the best parts, as participants were thrilled to learn and understand the rules of the game and shared ideas on how to incorporate them in their different activities and training sessions with youths of all age groups. To crown the session, participants were shared in little groups of four where they shared ideas on the grassroot causes and impact of hate speech in the community, highlighting ways how best to tackle it and possible solutions to consider in this fight. They all resolved to go back to their different communities after presenting papers on their resolutions to reach out to youths and other members of their communities, sensitizing them on better ways to curb the proliferation of this vice.

Objectives of the session was to

  • To amplify the benefits of the Field Guide resource kit as a tool to mitigate hate speech on social media platforms, especially in fragile contexts.
  • To enlighten civil society organizations, community organizations and other stakeholders

            on how they can incorporate the Field Guide Resource Kit in their activities to mitigate

            hate speech and conflicts online and offline.

  • Educate communities on healthy online discourse by promoting the responsible use of

            social media.

  • Advocate for the usage of conflict mitigation tools and the Field Guide in particular as a

            tool in achieving a #HateFreeCameroon via promoting peace and social cohesion.

  Expected Results

  • Civil society activists, government entities, Diplomatic missions, Media Professionals and the  Educational Community sensitized on the use of the Social Media Hate Speech

            Mitigation Field Guide as a conflict mitigation tool.

  • Participants gain additional skills on responsible use of social media, communication

            technology and identity as vectors for promoting peace and social cohesion.

To know more about the Field Guide, equally available for printing to use during events:

You can also join the conversation and become part of #defyhatenow family striving for a #HateFreeCameroon. Join us online using our jey hashtags: #FIELDGUIDECameroon #Act4Peace #defyhatenow #HateFreeCameroon.

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