In this blog we hear from Wasafiri’s Head of Operations, Scott Hinkle, who has been on the forefront in helping Wasafiri navigate the turbulence of Covid-19.

What happens when those who are trusted by communities to help them navigate difficult situations are themselves victims of the same difficult situations?

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to reach deeper into communities in Africa. In response, governments are tending to adopt approaches similar to what has worked in parts of Asia, Europe and the United States; near total lockdowns, strict social distancing, enforced closures of business and strict enforcement measures.

We are increasingly uncovering hints of regional linkages and wider trends between VE actors across East Africa

Is there a link between youth, unemployment, rural to urban migration and extrajudicial killings?

The difference between organised crime and violent extremism is at times difficult to discern.

On our blog, we’ve written before about how we feel that within the CVE (countering violent extremism) sector, research and programming can – for a variety of reasons related to sensitivity and confidentiality – become problematically siloed. More and more though we’re also noticing a wider problem of siloing, which is that CVE work as a whole is often treated in isolation from the wider conflict, peacebuilding and governance field..

Trying to work out if the money spent on development projects has made a real difference is hard; when this money is directed at sensitive and intangible goals like countering violent extremism (CVE), this gets even harder. CVE programmes, by nature, are designed with ambitious goals; they often seek to reduce or eliminate the violent extremist threat in a specific area, which is seemingly impossible to prove. So how, then, do we try to identify any sort of impact or changes in CVE programmes and attribute these changes to specific interventions?

As practitioners of preventing violent extremism (PVE), our aim is to reduce the drivers and enablers of extremism, whatever they may be, and in doing so, reduce the willingness to engage in or support violent acts against ‘the other’. As empathy is traditionally associated with lower propensities towards violence, this has led to the fostering of empathy as a program goal in some PVE activities. Messaging and alternative narratives are often included in PVE programming in pursuit of this aim.