Prevention Project

A comprehensive research programme on the effectiveness of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) projects.

RUSI’s Terrorism and Conflict group conducted an extensive, multi-year research project to collate, assess and strengthen the existing knowledge base for P/CVE interventions across different thematic and geographic areas. The Prevention Project aims to analyse the effectiveness of global P/CVE interventions by looking at ‘what can work and what has not worked’.

Project sponsor

The Norwegian Government

Key findings

The Prevention Project was a detailed analysis of the evidence base and mapped over 1,500 projects implemented by around 900 organisations in 100 countries, spanning a wide variety of themes within the research space.

The research for this project found that the evidence base for programme efficacy remains limited, with little information sharing, weak monitoring and evaluation regimes, a reliance on the same relatively small cluster of case studies, and a general lack of longitudinal analysis hampering collective understandings of P/CVE outcomes.

We outline the cross-cutting findings and recommendations below, highlighting key lessons and themes reflected in both the available literature and data collected from the research team’s fieldwork in Kenya and Lebanon. Key findings include:

  • Securitising other types of intervention, such as development programming, by conflating them with P/CVE could undermine their purpose while failing to achieve P/CVE objectives.
  • Integrated interventions can help mitigate harmful outcomes and increase the efficacy of P/CVE programmes.
  • Identifying intervention target groups should be guided by evidence-based risk and protective factors rather than assumptions when designing programmes.
  • Those in the wider social environments of ‘at-risk’ individuals are often well placed to identify signs of radicalisation and warning behaviours, but it should not be assumed that they are always able to spot or will report such concerns.
  • Relatability and access to target populations should guide decisions on who to involve and support in P/CVE programme implementation.
  • The process of engaging in P/CVE interventions and the trust built between intervention providers and participants play an important role in the impact an intervention can have on participants.

Project outputs

Overview outputs from the Prevention Project

The Prevention Project: Introduction to the Publication Series
Research Methodology: The Prevention Project
A Template for the Global South? Understanding the Promises and Pitfalls of Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya
Lessons for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: An Evidence-Based Approach
Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned Two Decades into the “War on Terror”


What Can Work (and What Has Not Worked) in Women-Centric P/CVE Initiatives: Assessing the Evidence Base for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism
RUSI Terrorism and Conflict Research Group Launch of the Prevention Project: A Seminar Series Exploring the Evidence Base for P/CVE

Youth & Education

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Through Education Initiatives: Assessing the Evidence Base
Invite-only events
Paper Launch - Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Through Education Initiatives
The Contested Relationship Between Youth and Violent Extremism: Assessing the Evidence Base in Relation to P/CVE Interventions
Paper Launch: The Contested Relationship Between Youth and Violent Extremism


How Effective Are Mentorship Interventions? Assessing the Evidence Base for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism
How effective are P/CVE mentorship programmes?


Through the Looking Glass: Assessing the Evidence Base for P/CVE Communications
Invite-only events
Paper Launch – Reviewing the Evidence Base for P/CVE Communications

Project impact

The Prevention Project has contributed significantly to the development of global best practices for P/CVE programming. The results of this project have been shared at multiple levels, including at international forums such as the United Nations Counter Terrorism Week events and the Eradicate Hate Global Summit, as well as with multiple regional and national level policy and practitioner audiences.

This project also helps to inform and engage knowledge-sharing across the P/CVE practitioner community as they continue to design and implement new programmes in the transnational security space.

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