Burkina Faso, a West African country long known for its cultural and religious tolerance, has recently been the victim of several large-scale terrorist attacks. In order to counter the violence and the spread of underlying extremist ideologies, civil society actors have taken a number of steps, including training women to become ‘mentors of tolerance.’ In combination with other longer term programmes and projects to promote inter-religious tolerance and understanding, such as bringing changes to the national curriculum, training local women as ‘mentors’ has had a significant impact – allowing messages of inclusion and unity to directly reach families and communities at local-level. The first generation of ‘mentors’ subsequently trained a second generation, and thus their message has spread.
In another example, following a particularly deadly terrorist attack in 2018, a young writer, François Moise Bamba, decided to use theatre to counter intolerance. His show, ‘No one has a monopoly on God’ harks back to days in the not-too-distant past when ‘it was normal for children to visit each other’s places of worship.’ ‘on religious festival days,’ he said, ‘Catholic children would visit the local mosque and Muslim children would go to church.’