Library: A Tool for Information Dissemination and Creating Awareness in Conflict-Induced Situations

Library: A Tool for Information Dissemination and Creating Awareness in Conflict-Induced Situations

Oluyemi Joshua Olubodun, Peter Olorunleke Oye
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7615-0.ch003
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This chapter is a conceptual establishment of the intrinsic potential of the library as a platform and mechanism for conflict prevention, resolution, peace-building, and sustainable wellbeing in society. Relying on evidence-based statistics, the chapter highlighted the rising tide of conflicts around the world, causes, consequences, and solutions. Latching on empirical studies, the chapter established the inherent propensity of the library as an information dissemination agency imbued with constructive skills to deliver desired attitude for peace in societies. The chapter suggested that the library's unique potentials should be strengthened so that it can better provide relevant services to people for a better and peaceful society.
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It is common knowledge that a plethora of conflicts are plaguing the world today. Conflict is multi-dimensional. It can occur between different groups, communities and nations, at various levels in different dimensions and thrives given its nature, extent, range, duration and resolution mechanisms. Thus conflict is a pervasive phenomenon in human society. The three major factors known to be responsible for conflicts include social, political and economic factors from which remote causes emanate. Immediate causes of conflict result from “political uprising, ethnic and religious intolerance, scramble for resources and growing inequality among the populace” (Obasolu, 2012:1).

Conflict if not properly managed can crystalize into full blown war, violence, terrorism, insurgency, militancy and the like. There have been two world wars: World War I and II. There were the Iran – Iraq war and the gulf war. Around the world at the moment one form of conflict or the other is ongoing at various levels in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, the age –long Israeli – Palestinian war and others. Africa has witnessed many civil wars: including Nigeria – Biafra war, Angola, Sierra – Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic of Congo and very recently Rwanda, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia.

Conflict – induced situations and environments are characterized by high exposure to it and continue to suffer vulnerability as such. They are high risk contexts: complex and volatile. Reports have it that in the last three decades, conflicts around the world has assumed an alarming proposition and dimension. Recently, it has increased in scale frequency and occurrence. By the end of 2016, there were 20.3 million internally displaced persons as a result of conflict across the world.

Most conflict displacements occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. New displacements by conflict in 2016 according to World Bank total 6.9%. Distribution by regain shows that Sub-Saharan Africa 38.0% -2.6m, Middle-East and North Africa 30.7% - 2.1m, Europe and Central Asia 4.5% -0.3m, East Asia and Pacific 4.6% - 0.3m, Latin America and the Caribbean 6.3% - 0.4m, South Asia 15.9% - 1.1m (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), with World Bank Data 12 GRID, 2017).

Some of the worst ever levels of conflict displacements were recorded in 2017, driven by political instability, complex humanitarian emergencies, failed peace agreements to urban warfare and the likes. A total of 40 million people remained internally displaced by conflict as of the end of 2017 (IDMC, GRID, 2018).

The timely management of conflict enables societal progress, but if allowed to fester, it can explode, linger and obstruct progress. It has been opined that conflicts are also fueled by misinformation or lack of it. Information has been variously described as knowledge communicated about facts capable of reducing uncertainty. Information plays a vital role in human endeavors. The value placed on information has made it an inevitable ingredient of social change. Today, it is the greatest factor of production that even shapes or adds value to human and other factors. That is why in today’s society such acronym as “information” and by implication “knowledge” society and “information” or knowledge organization is widely used.

Furthermore, there is widespread opinion by authors that information dissemination can play a vital role in stemming the tide of conflict. Such allusion is believed would help for preparedness, prevention and mitigation as the case may be of conflict. In addition, access to information is a need comparable with other basic human needs. Therefore, it has continued to be advocated that free flow of information is a right of the people as it can enable them by creating awareness to participate effectively in the process of social, political and economic activities. Moreso, as it enhances education, knowledge and learning (Laloo 2002 cited in Kwaghga et al, 2018:7). Also according to Kwaghga et al. (2018:7) recent studies have confirmed that lack of adequate and balanced information was the most significant cause of most conflicts in the world.

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