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The Prevention Project
The term ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE) first began to circulate in policy circles under the George W Bush administration as part of a policy associated with the ‘War on Terror’, rather than a ‘softer’ approach aimed at countering terrorism.1 Since then, CVE – and its contemporary adjunct ‘PVE’ (preventing violent extremism) – have grown in popularity, embodying one of the most important lessons of the last two decades: military and security-focused operations, in isolation, do not end terrorist movements.2 The em
In the context of the broader global shift towards ‘softer’ approaches to countering terrorism, education has gained increasing prominence in combating radicalisation and recruitment by violent extremist groups and offering positive alternatives to it. While the relationship between education and violent extremism remains ambiguous, the potential of educators and school systems to increase the resilience of students against violent extremism has been highlighted by policymakers and practitioners alike.
This paper focuses on women-centric efforts in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) – in other words, interventions that seek to work with, or target, women and girls specifically. The use of ‘women-centric’ rather than ‘gender-centric’ is deliberate. While understandings of gender norms, relations and behaviours underpin many of the assumptions explored in this paper, the explored initiatives all focus on engaging women. Interventions and accompanying literature on the specific roles of men in P/CVE are hard to come by.
In January 2018, the Norwegian government commissioned RUSI to lead the Prevention Project, which ran for over two years.