Our design involves two interventions, farmer-herder inter-dialogues which constitute our primary intervention (henceforth SFCG workshops) of interest and health workshops which we consider a benchmark case of neutral contact without a target focus on sources of conflict.
The main intervention consists of farmer-herder inter-dialogue workshops organized by Search for Common Ground (SFCG). The SFCG workshops unfold through three steps. First, preparatory meetings are held with farmers and herders separately; then both parties are brought together in two to three-day long fora. These fora include key local leaders, such as the chairmen of the farmer and herder associations, chiefs and local councilors, as well as women and youth leaders. However, there may be as many as 50 individuals from each of the communities, including rank and file herders and farmers. During the fora, farmers and herders collectively discuss key challenges and sources of tension within their community. At the end of the session, they produce a collective record of this discussion, which requires them to reach basic agreement on how these challenges are represented.
Third, SFCG organizes follow-up visits to the communities, 6 weeks after the fora to discuss progress in implementing the action plans. 32 SFCG workshops were implemented involving 96 farmer-herder community pairs. The first workshop took place on July 15, 2020 and the final workshop on November 3, 2021 with the last follow up visit on December 10, 2021.
Additionally, we designed a neutral treatment arm which consists of health workshops. We partnered with a Nigerian health consulting firm, Dan Meshak Consulting, to provide health workshops to farmer and herder communities following the same structure and setup as the SFCG workshops (first farmers and herders meet separately, then together, and a follow-up visit six weeks later). In contrast to the SFCG workshops, issues surrounding the conflict between farmers and herders are not discussed at the health workshops. Only health care problems are addressed, such as child and maternal health, sanitation practices, and COVID-19 prevention. 32 health workshops were implemented involving 96 farmer-herder community pairs. The first health workshop took place on November 24, 2020 and the final health workshop on June 13, 2022 with the last follow up visit on September 30, 2022.