Strengthening Resilience against Violent Extremism

RUSI undertook the STRIVE II project with the European Union to strengthen resilience to violent extremism in Kenya




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.

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.

Funded by

  • European Union

    This project is funded by the European Union.

Project outputs


Access key publications produced as part of this project.

Evaluation of STRIVE II in Kenya

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Youth Resilience to Violent Extremism

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A Mentorship Manual for Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya

STRIVE II: Lessons Learned

RUSI Journal

Preventive Communication: Emerging Lessons from Participative Approaches to Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya

Lessons Learned from P/CVE Youth Mentorship

Clan Conflict and Violent Extremism in the North-Eastern Counties of Kenya

RUSI Newsbrief

How East Africa’s Terrorists Build Their Brand Strength

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Sudan’s Protests: Something New?

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Deradicalisation and Disengagement in Somalia: Evidence from a Rehabilitation Programme for Former Members of Al-Shabaab

Gender and Violent Extremism

New Compendium of Research on Gender and Violent Extremism in Kenya

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Experts Explain How Mentorship Helps Counter Violent Extremism in Kenya

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STRIVE: Lessons Learned

STRIVE - Horn of Africa | Interim Update

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What is Violent Extremism?

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STRIVE for Development

Countering Violent Extremism and Risk Reduction: A Guide to Programme Design and Evaluation

Project impact

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.


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