Representatives from the Kenyan Government joined members of the diplomatic community and civil society on Thursday, for the launch of new research into preventing violent extremism in Kenya. The launch was co-hosted by the National Counter Terrorism Centre, the British High Commission Nairobi, and the Embassy of the Netherlands, Nairobi.
The research, which was jointly funded by the British and Dutch Governments, seeks to further understanding of ‘at-risk’ communities in Kenya, and to support an evidence-based approach to policy and decision making.
Researchers looked at the drivers of radicalisation, how radicalisation and recruitment work in practice, and which approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism may be most effective. Among the findings, it was clear that social networks are key; those with small or weak social networks are at risk of radicalisation. Personal crises, and structural challenges such as unemployment & poverty also play a big role. When considering how to effectively respond to the risk of radicalisation, the research highlighted the positive role informal grassroots interventions can play in influencing ‘at-risk’ individuals, and the role mothers play in encouraging their children to leave violent extremism. The research includes recommendations for government, practitioners and development partners working to prevent violent extremism.
Speaking during the launch, Ambassador Martin Kimani said: “This launch delivers carefully researched findings and practice-relevant recommendations that help sharpen the focus of terrorism prevention work on individuals who are truly at risk of recruitment. I commend the researchers on this effort.”
British High Commissioner Nic Hailey said: “The UK is committed to working with Kenya to respond to the shared threat of violent extremism. Research ensures we adopt an evidence-based approach to the design of our interventions, so that they really work, preventing people from being radicalised in the first place.”
Dutch Ambassador Frans Makken said: “Preventing and countering violent extremism is not just a matter of violence alone; it is also about a country’s reputation, investment climate and, most importantly, the future of its youngsters. This research helps to pinpoint causes of radicalization and recruitment and, hence, to support policies as well as concrete action on the ground to prevent and counter violent extremism.”