STRIVE II Kenya seeks to build on achievements and lessons learned during STRIVE Horn of Africa, which was a pilot programme conducted under the EU’s global STRIVE platform.
The programme, implemented by the RUSI Nairobi office, was designed based on this developing picture of the violent extremism (VE) threat in Kenya and this iteration specifically focuses its interventions there. While Al-Shabaab continued to be the primary threat, it was no longer the only threat in the region. The Islamic State, as well as the possible return of Al-Qa’ida in East Africa, was one of the actors that the programme monitored and sought to curb. However, STRIVE II focused its analysis and programming on the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. The programme accounted for not only the development and improvement of some aspects of the response by state, as well as non-state actors, but also the ways in which the tactics of the VE organisations mutated to circumvent these developments.
Director of RUSI Nairobi
Law Enforcement Project Manager
Dr. Tina Wilchen Christensen
Research Fellow (RUSI Nairobi)
STRIVE II contributed towards increasing peace, stability and inclusive economic opportunities for youth and marginalised areas of Kenya by undertaking research and activities to reduce radicalisation and recruitment:
Research – The research component has contributed towards improving CVE programming through monitoring and evaluating impact, and enhancing understanding of the relationship between underlying conflict dynamics and recruitment patterns.
Law Enforcement Training – In support of Kenya’s National Strategy on CVE, senior and mid-level law enforcement managers from a range of agencies who are deployed in high-risk areas have been trained in CVE.
Youth Mentorship - The mentorship and women stakeholder referral system is seeking to reduce the readiness of at-risk youths to engage in political and ideological violence by referring these individuals for mentorship.
Preventive Communications – Communications interventions seek to support the mentorship programme by strengthening the voice of the youth, and strengthening media capacity to report on conflict.
These activities were chosen and designed according to the strengths and successes of the STRIVE Horn of Africa iteration and took into account the lessons learned during that pilot programme.
This article argues that a gender-sensitive approach is needed for effective countering violent extremism programming and counterterrorism policy, therefore is needed to create a more secure world for all individuals.
The programme objectives included the requirements of contributing and sharing evidence about the interventions to provide recommendations for the future. This iteration of programming, alongside its predecessor STRIVE Horn of Africa, have openly contributed lessons for the improvement of approaches to transnational CVE programming.
A chapter of the Lessons Learned report focuses on monitoring and evaluation, which offers reflections and recommendations for similar interventions with regard to the measurement of effect. While these recommendations emerged from a programme in Kenya, they also have relevance for interventions in the Global South, given the structural factors.
It should be noted that during the last six months of the implementation period, Covid-19 spread in Kenya. This resulted in the cessation of movement in or out of key project locations and a ban on public gatherings throughout the country, rendering in-person activities impossible. In response to the measures prohibiting the planned programme, the project team revised plans and many of the activities described in this report were conducted via online messaging, video conference platforms and voice calls. One of the obvious lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic is that future risk mitigation plans should consider public health crises that include measures for how the programme can be executed remotely and the inherent risks of such changes in strategy.
Funded by the European Union
STRIVE II Kenya was funded by the European Union.