Countering Violent Extremism Governance and Communications Strategy Paper

Published by USAID

Countering Violent Extremism

The Research Study, conducted between April and July 2021, explores the social networks and information flows of both violent extremism (VE) and countering violent extremism (CVE) and looks at localized understandings of related concepts across four Kenyan counties: Nairobi, Nyeri, Mombasa, and Kwale.

It contains two main products: 1) a Governance and Communications Strategy Paper (below), which analyzes social networks and communication patterns among VE-affected communities and CVE practitioners and contains strategic recommendations for USAID and other donors who support CVE programming; 2) a Community Action Strategy, a series of six short briefs directed at government actors, religious actors, and local organizations carrying out CVE programming in the Kenyan context.

Study locations were chosen, in consultation with USAID and the National Counter Terrorism Centre of Kenya. Determining factors for study locations also included where VE is a matter of concern, and locations where the team could feasibly investigate information sharing networks and evolving societal norms across urban and rural locations. Kenya was chosen for this research as VE actors, primarily al Shabaab, continue to present a threat to the country’s national security and regional stability and the country has a substantial history of CVE implementation.

The research piloted an innovative methodology that combined in-depth, field-based qualitative research with social network analysis (SNA) to better understand how social networks and information and communication patterns inform community attitudes and behaviors around VE and CVE.