Naomi A. Haruna

  • University of MaiduguriScholarship Holder

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Research Project

Visual Representation for Promoting Peace amongst Internally Displaced Persons in Northeast Nigeria

Nigeria has been bedeviled by ethno-religious conflicts with devastating human and material losses since the return of democracy in 1999. The recent insurgency in the northeastern part of the country by a religious sect known as Boko Haram has hit the country badly. ‘Boko’ means ‘school’ (especially the western or foreign) while ‘Haram’ means ‘forbidden’, ‘ungodly’, or ‘sinful’. Since 2009, Northeast Nigeria has fared worse than the other parts of the country; people have lost lives, been displaced from their homes, lost property, cultural artifacts, their cultural norms, values and beliefs. There have been different intervention programs using different media by governments in restoring peace and harmony in collaboration with non-governmental organizations through workshops, advocacy and radio programs, but success has been slow. This research intends to deploy visual representation as a medium for promoting peace and harmony amongst internally displaced persons in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. Without the presence of peace in the region there won’t be any sustainable development. It is worth mentioning that violent conflict situations like with the Boko Haram affect all aspects of sustainable development, be they social, environmental or economic. The destruction of cultural heritage and lives is equally characteristic of the Boko Haram violent conflict to the extent that it foists on the Internally Displaced Persons completely new cultures as they try to adjust to their new conditions, just as these conditions compel new dynamics in the prevailing cultural complex. This particularly challenges the idea of culturally sustainable development both as an enabler and driver of development.

In this study, it is recognised that in all the efforts made by government and nongovernmental agencies towards promoting peace in northeast Nigeria, visual representations appear to be treated in such intervention designs as incidental or add-on’s to the “more serious” approaches of workshops, written resource materials, and advocacy visits to stake holders. Although visual representations have been used in different contexts to get information across to people, such as the dangers of HIV/AIDS, the dangers of smoking, drinking while driving, etc., research has not been done on the use of visual representations using cultural cues to promote peace and harmony in insurgency affected areas. This research intends to fill this gap by replicating such studies but in this current context. Some of the research questions are:

• Are there visual representations promoting peace and harmony amongst IDP’s in North east Nigeria?
• Are visual representations effective in promoting peace and harmony amongst IDP’s in northeast Nigeria?
• What are the types of visual representation that can promote peace and harmony amongst IDP’s in Northeast Nigeria?
• How effective can the IDPs interpret messages emanating from visual representations?

The research employs a triangulation of methods: survey, quasi-experimental and stratified simple random sampling will be employed from a wider population.

In addition to making significant contribution to the growing body of knowledge, it is hoped that the output of this thesis will be of significance to the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the various communities that are currently working hard at promoting peace and harmony despite the raging violent insurgency. This will further contribute empirical evidence to the discourse on culturally sustainable development, particularly from the African perspective.



Naomi Andrew Haruna is a PhD candidate with the SDG-Graduate School ‘Performing Sustainability. Cultures and Development in West Africa’. She holds a master degree in Advertising and Marketing from Coventry University, United Kingdom and a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts with a specialisation in Graphics from University of Maiduguri. Her Master’s dissertation dealt with the ‘Effectiveness of using Advertising Appeals on Consumer Purchase Behaviour’. As a cultural enthusiast who has been imparting entrepreneurial skills in cultural craft across women groups in order to enhance their livelihoods and promote cultural production and consumption, Naomi Albert Yusuf is combining her training in Creative Arts and Advertising with passion for cultural sustainability to research for a PhD which focuses on the use of culturally-based visual representations for the promotion of peace and harmony amongst Internally Displaced Person’s in Northeast Nigeria. Her research interests include Peace Media, Cultural Sustainability, Development Communication and Gender Studies. Naomi Albert Yusuf is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Maiduguri, Borno State.