RUSI partnered with the European Commission to increase societal and individual resilience to violent extremism in Kenya and Somalia. The project was the European Union’s first CVE programme outside Europe. The project involves research into drivers of radicalisation and pilot CVE interventions with law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations, and vulnerable youths in Kenya and Somalia.
Law Enforcement Project Manager RUSI (Nairobi)
Dr. Tina Wilchen Christensen
Communications Research Consultant (RUSI Nairobi)
Project Assistant (RUSI Nairobi)
Director of RUSI Nairobi
Research Fellow (RUSI Nairobi)
Aims and objectives
Strengthening Resilience against Violent Extremism (STRIVE II) is contributing 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.
This project is funded by the European Union.
Access key publications produced as part of this project.
Preventive Communication: Emerging Lessons from Participative Approaches to Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya
Deradicalisation and Disengagement in Somalia: Evidence from a Rehabilitation Programme for Former Members of Al-Shabaab
The nature of the threat from violent extremism (VE) in the Horn of Africa, and Kenya specifically, continues to evolve. Since the Strengthening Resilience to Violence and Extremism (STRIVE) II programme started in 2016, the threat remains undiminished. At the same time, some aspects of the response by state, as well as non-state, actors have improved, which continue to influence the tactics by violent extremist organisations. While Al-Shabaab continues to be the primary threat, it is no longer the only threat in the region. The Islamic State, as well as the possible return of Al-Qa’ida in East Africa, is one of the actors that countering violent extremism (CVE) programmes are currently monitoring and seeking to curb. STRIVE II has focused its analysis and programming on the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.
STRIVE II sought to build on achievements and lessons learned during STRIVE Horn of Africa, which was a pilot programme of the EU’s CVE programmes.
The programme was designed based on this developing picture of the VE threat in Kenya. The programme objectives included the requirements of contributing and sharing evidence about the interventions to provide recommendations for the future. A separate chapter of the 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 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.