Search for Common Ground implemented Building Resilience through Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration to Prevent Violent Extremism in Indonesia from September 2020 to September 2022. The project aimed to strengthen comprehensive community-based responses to violent extremist radicalization, recruitment, and recidivism.
Search focused on building both government and local capacity to prevent and counter violent extremism (P/CVE) and enhance local resilience by promoting alternative positive narratives and improving national rehabilitation and reintegration (R&R) programs. Search’s extensive experience working on R&R and P/CVE in Indonesia such as Reducing Recruitment and Recidivism of Violent Extremism, Promoting Peace Narrative, and Countering and Preventing Radicalization Inside the Pesantren prepared Search to effectively engage in localized multi-stakeholder collaboration. Search built local capacity to mitigate the risks of VEO recruitment tactics through tailored training and participatory curriculum development, while also leveraging media to increase positive messaging and public awareness and support.
Theory of Change
“IF key community leaders have the capacity to foster critical thinking and tolerance among at-risk groups AND community-based R&R programs are enhanced to support P/CVE efforts in the larger community in a conflict sensitive manner, THEN communities in Indonesia will increase their resilience to radicalization and recruitment by VEOs.”
Core Objectives and Activities
The project’s overarching goal was to strengthen comprehensive community-based responses to violent extremist radicalization, recruitment, and recidivism. This was achieved by enhancing community resilience to violent extremist narratives, and improving community-grounded R&R programs designed to support P/CVE efforts and reduce recidivism and recruitment by returnees.
Working in areas of Greater Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, and Central Sulawesi, Search trained key P/CVE actors (religious counselors and leaders, correctional officers, social workers/activists, local governments, media activists, and educators) approaches to conflict transformation to better understand the human aspect of violent extremism and R&R and build multi-stakeholder collaboration for prevention in Indonesia. Following the trainings, local reintegration forums supported coordination on R&R issues among social workers, psychologists, law enforcement agencies, and vocational training centers. Search also worked with women and youth civil society to organize community cultural activities and a media and digital messaging campaign, including telling the stories of returnees.
- Sear trained 248 religious counselors, social workers, psychosocial officers, and parole officers on multi-actor collaboration in P/CVE and R&R. Survey results from the final evaluation show that 92 percent of respondents acknowledged that the project helped increase people’s knowledge of potential solutions to extremism and how to engage relevant authorities.
- The project sparked new initiatives carried out individually or collaboratively between different government and civil society actors, including community leaders. Search established five local reintegration forums to strengthen community-based responses in the project target areas of Jakarta, Cirebon, Tasikmalaya, Solo, and Poso, with participants representing 82 government and non-government institutions.
- As a result of these activities, the final evaluation found the proportion of participants who reported that multi-stakeholder collaboration was effective or very effective increased by 19 percentage points from 59 percent of respondents prior to the project implementation, to 78 percent after the project implementation.
- Search interviewed ten returnees, deportees, former convicted terrorists, and their families to produce six articles and four videos telling their stories to support R&R and promote peaceful messages as alternatives to violent extremism group narratives and propaganda, leveraging their credible voices. An additional 18 digital media products were published under the project’s social media campaign gaining a total of 11,532,065 views and as a result the final evaluation found 93 percent of survey respondents reported increased tolerance toward diversity and reduced stigma toward R&R beneficiaries.
“This training was the first time that I learned about the R&R process. I have heard about the former convicted terrorists in the eastern Indonesia area, such as in Central Sulawesi or Papua. With this training, I learned how to prepare them to reintegrate into society and I am prepared.” – Female Religious Counselor Participant, Greater Jakarta