Projects

Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE) Horn of Africa

This RUSI-implemented pilot programme (2014-2017) was the first dedicated effort by the European Union to implement a countering violent extremism project outside its borders.




Boniface Mwangi


The EU’s STRIVE  platform is implemented globally through various organisations and efforts.

RUSI’s STRIVE Horn of Africa (HoA) pilots, implemented out of the RUSI Nairobi office, sought to both identify best practice in efforts to counter violent extremism and to strengthen the evidence base around CVE programming. In designing and implementing the activities within each result area, there was an emphasis on research, monitoring and evaluation to extract lessons on an ongoing basis. 
Acknowledging the complex nature of radicalisation and recruitment to violent extremist groups, the project adopted an initial working definition that conceptualised the phenomenon as ‘a process by which individuals are introduced to an overtly ideological message and belief system that encourages movement from mainstream beliefs towards extremist views and the promotion of and use of violence’. 

The recognition of a ‘process’ emphasised the need for a multifaceted, collaborative approach, integrating different actors to engage at different stages (while appreciating that radicalisation is non-linear).

Boniface Mwangi

Project outputs

The activities under STRIVE HoA were wide-ranging. Each of the result areas consisted of three phases: a six-month research and assessment phase, a 24-month project implementation phase and a final six-month evaluation phase. Under these areas, a limited number of actions were implemented to create a demonstrable impact on strengthening resilience against violent extremism. These pilots sought to both identify best practice in efforts to counter violent extremism and to strengthen the evidence base around CVE programming. In designing and implementing the activities within each result area, there was an emphasis on research, monitoring and evaluation to extract lessons on an ongoing basis.

The result areas included: 

  • Building the regional capacity of security sector and law enforcement authorities to engage with civil society in fighting violent extremism (initially intended to cover Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia). 
  • Strengthening the capacity of women’s organisations in Puntland and Somaliland to fight violent extremism. 
  • Increasing understanding of the challenges faced by EU-born Somali youth in Somaliland. 
  • Increasing understanding of the drivers of radicalisation among youth in Kenya. 
  • A fifth area that was subsequently included focused on preventive communications.

Watch the video


Introduction to STRIVE Horn of Africa

Defining Violent Extremism


What is Violent Extremism?
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Gender


Gender in Countering Violent Extremism Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation: Beyond Instrumentalism - Dr Jessica White, 18 September 2020

This article argues that a gender-sensitive approach is needed for effective countering violent extremism programming and counterterrorism policy, therefore is needed to create a more secure world for all individuals.

Design, Monitoring and Evaluation


Countering Violent Extremism and Risk Reduction: A Guide to Programme Design and Evaluation
STRIVE: Lessons Learned
STRIVE - Horn of Africa - Lessons Learned and Independent Evaluation

Published April 2017

Project impact

STRIVE Horn of Africa sought to develop a set of best practices for implementing and monitoring preventative programming in the region, building the EU’s internal knowledge and capacities alongside contributing towards global CVE strategies. As a relatively small-scale initiative, STRIVE deliberately followed a pilot approach to CVE activities where ‘failure was an option’ in testing assumptions associated with radicalisation and recruitment.

Its successes were drawn upon for RUSI to develop and deliver a second phase of programming STRIVE Kenya.

Related project


Projects
Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism (STRIVE) II Kenya

STRIVE II Kenya was an EU-funded Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) programme active between 2017 and 2020.

Funding

  • Funded by the European Union

    Strengthening Resilience to Violence and Extremism: Horn of Africa project was developed with funding from the EU.

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