Bring Back Our Girls Campaign began as a social media campaign in Nigeria following the kidnapping of more than 200 school girls by Boko Haram, an Islamist extremist group. The twitter support using hashtag #BringBackOurGirls spread to every continent where the international social media users pressured the Nigerian Government along with their Governments to find the abducted girls. Amin Adan rightly noted in his presentation on digital communication tools used for the BringBackOurGirls campaign by Amnesty International that the international whirlpool of tweets spurred immense global attention to this issue, even drawing the support of global leaders such as UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, US President, Barack Obama and the UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki-Moon to put intense pressure on President Jonathan’s Government to come up with a rescue mission.
I believe very strongly that if the campaign that recorded about 500,000 tweets a day on the 17th day of the campaign had not been carried out by Amnesty International (AI) through digital campaign, the Nigerian Government may not give the abduction serious concerns. The Government did not publicly address the abduction for weeks and had to deal with it because the campaign went viral on social media. It was a trending topic on Facebook for a couple of days. During its peak, #BringBackOurGirls spread to around 69 countries and caught the attention of international celebrities such as Ann Hathaway, Michelle Obama and the Kirdashians.
I know the girls are not yet rescued, and digital campaign tools such as Web messages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube videos cannot force the militants to release the abducted girls, but, it was very instrumental in sending a strong message to both the international community and the Nigerian Government about a need for action. Amnesty International considers campaigns and actions as one of the ways in which change happens and with the use of digital communication tools, AI campaign #BringBackOurGirls has been effective and forcefully changed an otherwise complacent Government to act in the search for the abducted girls. In addition to social media, YouTube and Web videos, I think the campaign should increase campaign presence on local television and radio broadcasting. It should produce programmes, use pictures of the campaigners from the various countries and air regularly on local stations. This will sustain the #BringBackOurGirls campaign for as long as it is necessary to achieve a feasible change.
Akwei, A. (2014). Nigeria: Bring Back Our Girls! Amnesty USA. Retrieved from http://blog.amnestyusa.org/africa/nigeria-bring-back-our-girls/ on March 2, 2016.
Amin, A. (2016). Presentation on Digital Communication tools of Amnesty International Bring Back Our Girls Campaign.
Emmanuel, O. (2014). How twitter built global outrage on abduction of Chibok girls #BringBackOurGirls. Retrieved from http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/160767-twitter-built-global-outrage-abduction-chibok-girls-bringbackourgirls.html on March 2, 2016.