One year after the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, UNICEF is using Snapchat to draw attention to the devastating impact of the conflict in the northeastern region of the country. It is the first large scale Snapchat campaign by an international NGO that I am aware of.
UNICEF claim that around 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict between Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defence groups. The number of children running for their lives within Nigeria, or crossing over the border to Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has more than doubled in just less than a year.
UNICEF is using Snapchat to communicate the plight of the hundreds of thousands of children who are missing out on their childhoods. They are working with leading Snapchat artists – including Shaun McBride, aka Shonduras – to tell the stories of the children who have fled the violence by sharing images based on drawings from children in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The artwork reflects what children miss from home and the atrocities they have endured, including seeing their parents and siblings killed, tortured or abducted.
The public is also being invited to help raise awareness, by sharing what they would miss the most if they were forced from home – either by sending a snap to UNICEF on Snapchat, or by posting messages on other social channels such as Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #BringBackOurChildhood. The hashtag has been shared widely and picked up by large media houses, but like #BringBackOurGirls is it just slacktivism or will it ultimately achieve anything other than raising awareness? I hope it does!
— CNN International (@cnni) April 14, 2015
For more information visit UNICEF’s campaign Tumblr at bringbackourchildhood.tumblr.com