Violent extremism is the choice to use or support violence to advance a cause based on exclusionary group identities. Rwanda is not immune from the influences of extremist ideologies, whether they be internally grown or coming from neighboring countries. In fact, the national government is currently developing its National Action Plan to counter violent extremism in Rwanda.
Leveraging our experience in this field, we are implementing a 12-month project with the overall goal to support and establish preventative strategies for violent extremism in Rwanda.
This project, supported by the United States Department of State through the United States Embassy in Rwanda, has two complementary objectives. The first is to support the Government of Rwanda in the process of developing its National Action Plan, reflecting the concerns of diverse groups in Rwanda as well as best practices from other African contexts. The second is to build the capacity and knowledge of key influencers, including actors in the legislative system, civil society organizations, and community leaders, to collaborate with the government and participate effectively in the prevention and response to violent extremism.
We supported the development of Rwanda’s first comprehensive National Action Plan to counter violent extremism through a series of capacity-building sessions and meetings facilitated by experts from other countries affected by violent extremism. These activities involved many government actors, including the Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, the Ministries of Defense and Justice, and the National Prosecution Authority, as well as civil society groups like Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne and the Rwanda Muslim Community and Scout Associations.
Our survey revealed that 91.7% of the participants found the workshops had increased their understanding of violent extremism as a global challenge. More so, 100% recognized that the workshops contributed to increasing their understanding of violent extremism as relevant to Rwanda specifically.