The government is taking awareness campaigns against violent extremism to the grassroots in order to make the country safer.
The National Counter terrorism Centre (NCTC) chief executive officer Njenga Miiri said the government with the support of stakeholders was creating modalities to counter factors that enable radicalization of members of the public and especially the youth.
Speaking in Marsabit town during the launch of the reconstituted Marsabit County Engagement Forum (CEF), Miiri said that factors that enable radicalization of youth into violent extremism were being countered.
NCTC has partnered with the Strategies for Northern Kenya on a 12-month project, dubbed Accelerated Response Initiative against Violent Extremism (ARIVE), aimed at facilitating the coordination of CEF and the review of the Marsabit Action Plan (CAP) for the prevention and countering of violent extremism (PCVE).
The project that would be implemented in Marsabit Central, Sololo and Moyale sub-counties is being funded by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) through the Act Change Transform (ACT).
The ARIVE project manager Shukri Adan said that the initiative aims at strengthening the coordination and minimizing duplication among various stakeholders hence maximizing the impact of PCVE efforts within communities.
The project aims at enlisting the support of stakeholders to be drawn from government departments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious leaders, political leaders, community and the media in order to create a safer and harmonious county.
Shukri said that radicalization was still active in the county and that the project would strive to give government efforts some impetus by looping in the private sector in the implementation of the CAP.
This, he pointed out, would build trust and enhance the relationship between security actors and communities besides giving women and youth visible engagement in the CEF and P/CVE initiatives.
Through collaboration, stakeholders would be tasked with the responsibility of coming up with ways on how available resources could be mobilized to foster sustainable development in order to address the socio-economic challenges bedeviling the local communities.
The project further aims at availing conflict resolution techniques that encourage constructive conversations around violent extremism, which include the establishment of community-led initiatives such as the neighborhood watch programs, so as to improve on the relationship between community members and security actors.
“In this project, community oriented events like sporting activities and cultural exchanges that bring together community members and security personnel will be factored in order to enhance relations and build trust,” said Miiri.
The three-day function was also attended by ACT senior program officer Zena Hassan, Marsabit county commissioner Nobert Komora and the Marsabit county chief officer for administration Elema Tache.
By Sebastian Miriti