My daughter is doing an internship in a dangerous place in Africa. What should I be concerned about?

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    The article you reference from World magazine emphasizes the incursion of Somalia’s troubles into Nigeria.  That is a problem; but it is not the most serious potential danger to your daughter.  Somali Muslim influence wears robes and veils and is concentrated in well-known communities in and around Nairobi and western Nigeria.  It’s relatively easy to avoid those areas and stay out of trouble.

    However, Nigeria is a powder keg of inter-tribal rivalry and volatile politics, near the time of elections again.  Western-style-dressed Nigerians can comprise or encounter seemingly sudden eruptions of aggressive and violent political behavior on the streets without much warning.  The run up to the last national election saw scores of people killed.

    I don’t know the election schedule at this time.  It would be wise to have a handle on the political stability and affiliations directly in and around the internship site/communities.

    These questions help frame her understanding and readiness for difficult circumstances:

    Has your daughter had any kind of personal security awareness training or contingency training?
    Is she athletic at all?  Can she kick? Hit? Fight “dirty”?
    Would she be able and willing to use a police baton to beat off someone trying to assault her?
    Has she ever used pepper spray?

    These questions help frame the situational readiness of her hosts:

    Have her hosts had experience with evaluating and avoiding violent crowds?
    Do her hosts have good communication capacity: cell phones, high-speed Internet service, radio?
    Do they have good, reliable, independent transportation?  Do they keep their vehicle/s in good service and have spare fuel?
    Do they have the means and the will to protect her?
    Do they have an evacuation plan: for the immediate area?, for the region?, for the country?

    Not to scare you and her; but having some security briefing before going would be wise. 
    How well do you know the reputation and experience of the group she’s going to be working with?

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