Preventing Violent Extremism Through Comic Books

In January 2017, we launched a four-month project with support from the Canadian government to build the resilience of Tunisian youth to violent extremism. In order to achieve this goal, we focused on equipping young people with the skills they need to develop credible alternative narratives to radicalization.

After extensive fieldwork in five target communities vulnerable to recruitment, we produced 4,500 copies of a comic book entitled Youmiyyat Daly (The Days in the Life of Daly).

Comic books are a popular medium among young Tunisians, who are familiar with their language, images, and narrative style. That, however, doesn’t mean that every message communicated through comic books will resonate with young people. In order to ensure the creation of relatable characters and plotlines, we set up dialogues with members of 10 civil society organizations, focus groups with local youth, and interviews with experts on violent extremism. Their insight and testimonies informed the development of the storyline, led by a Tunisian art collective specializing in comic books for young adults.

This pilot project elevated the voices of Tunisian youth, many of whom highlighted having few outlets to discuss sensitive issues such as radicalization. Many suggested adapting the comic book into a short animated series or digitizing its content for social media.

As part of the initiative, we also trained 15 young Tunisians in facilitation. They will bring Youmiyyat Daly to their communities and engage people in discussions on the comic book’s themes. The positive values that they are sharing contribute to the strengthening of resilience against violent extremism in Tunisia.