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Community-led solutions to end violent extremism

What drives people to violent extremism? There is no simple answer, and reasons vary by region, country and community. But, there is consensus that combating violent extremism must involve a deep and nuanced understanding of its causes. Too often, strategies are developed in a vacuum, without involving those most affected, which limits the success of solutions.

Seventeen civil society organizations in the Maghreb and Sahel regions came together to understand the drivers of violent extremism in their local communities, learn from each other and develop solutions that fit their specific contexts. These partner organizations work with populations at risk for recruitment into violent extremism in six countries: Algeria, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia. Through two regional workshops that promoted open dialogue, we assisted participants in understanding problems and developing solutions with local, relevant action plans. In Morocco, for example, local group discussions were held with parents about how social media and the internet are being used to recruit youth into terrorist groups and how to devise ways that parents and youth can counteract these activities. We also brought people together from across the regions through a moderated and secure online community of practice to share knowledge about locally driven efforts to prevent violent extremism.

Our work in the Maghreb and Sahel is bringing communities closer to developing more effective strategies to counter violent extremism. We are also contributing to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s ability to understand and address issues related to conflict and violent extremism, which will inform its future strategies.

What is Countering Violent Extremism?

In an engaging conversation, FHI 360’s Robin Nelson and Anne Salinas offer their definition of the phrase: countering violent extremism. They explore the drivers of extremism and discuss approaches for its mitigation, as well as some of FHI 360’s interventions.

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