Violent Extremism

While many respond to terrorist acts with violent or propaganda-based tactics, we identify constructive means of dissuading people from expressing their beliefs or frustrations violently. We promote religious tolerance, bolster young people’s resistance to recruitment, and equip both convicted terrorists and prison officials with non-violent conflict resolution skills.

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Meet Me at the Maksani: A Mapping of Influencers, Networks, and Communication Channels in Kenya and Tanzania

Radicalization across East Africa has increased in recent years, affecting both Kenya and Tanzania; Kenya on a larger scale. Search conducted this research to map key influencers, networks and communication channels that drive and prevent violent extremism, with the goal of informing more effective programming. The mapping methodology was based on social network analysis (SNA), and the findings validated in a civil society workshop.

The mapping revealed that poverty and unemployment were the most common frustrations people were dealing with, and that they turned to their friends most often for solutions. This suggests a diluted influence of religious and community leaders, though they likely still have indirect influence. CSOs had very little influence, and need to improve their coordination of efforts. Though most of the advice given is non-violent, it lacks focused action and so is less easy advice to follow than the action-oriented recruitment to VE. Existing channels for communication should be leveraged to increase awareness of concrete non-violent actions to take in response to the pressures they face. While progress has been made in Kenya (and to a lesser extent in Tanzania) towards overcoming this barrier to more effective VE programming, there is still work to be done in both countries.

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Combined Baseline Evaluation of “Katika Usalama Tunategemeana and “Pamoja! Strengthening Community Resilience in Tanzania””

Violent Extremism (VE) and radicalization are increasing concerns in Tanzania, both on the mainland and in Zanzibar. Search is working to address the underlying causes of economic, social-political, and religious marginalization through the two projects that make up this baseline. Key findings included: Interfaith dialogues have value in CVE, and potential to be expanded and made more sustainable; Community interest in and feelings of responsibility to support CVE efforts; there is currently little coordination between different actors working on CVE (government, CSOs, NGOs, local media, etc); Political conflicts are viewed as more pressing than religious ones, but they are not distinct and so any CVE efforts should include political actors; Economic pressures and lack of economic opportunity are key pull factors for youth engaging in VE. The baseline recommends including religious, economic, and civic/political empowerment as a part of any programming. The baseline also suggests mapping all CVE actors in the space to help improve coordination and effectiveness of efforts.

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Religious Leaders Convene for the Protection of Holy Sites in Nigeria

On June 12-13, more than 50 religious leaders from the Nigerian Christian and Muslim communities met at our event in Abuja.

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Promoting Religious Freedom in Kyrgyzstan

Our Kyrgyzstan team is working with the judiciary and civil society organizations to improve religious freedom in the country.

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Transforming Violent Extremism: A Peacebuilder’s Guide

“This guide is the fruit of collaboration by Search for Common Ground colleagues past and present from around the world. Through an appreciative inquiry process, we asked ourselves what we have learned from our years of work in transforming violent conflict and responding to violent extremism. This guide […]

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2016 #CGAwards: Maryam and Janet

Surrounded by interreligious violence, two teenagers from Nigeria – one Muslim, one Christian – have become powerful voices of unity and resilience.

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Social Media for Deradicalization in Kyrgyzstan

Working with local activists, we are countering youth’s recruitment into violent extremist groups through social media.