All the 47 county governments have been urged to mainstream Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in all their programmes.
Speaking during the close of a two-day training workshop for Busia County Security team and other stakeholders on Tuesday, the Programme Director of Champions of Peace Kenya, Elly Opondo said that CVE cannot be implemented in isolation.
“Right now we are focusing on mainstreaming, integration and increasing awareness so that many people can have a clear picture of what is happening on the ground,” he said.
Opondo pointed out that the level of awareness about terrorism has increased due to the efforts by National Counter Terrorism Centre to work with both state and non-state actors at the grass root level.
“Before we carried out the survey last year, the awareness level was at 7% but our survey carried out between November 2019 and February this year has revealed that around 40 % are aware of the vice,” he said, adding that this is a great improvement.
The director explained that the organization through the support of the Netherlands is supporting 10 counties in Western Kenya region to develop County Action Plans in Countering Violent Extremism.
“After the Dusit 2 attack last year, the President ordered that all Counties develop County Action Plans on Countering Violent Extremism,” he said, adding that the organization is currently supporting the County Engagement Forum members through capacity building so that they can come up with a strategic development plan for one year on how they can prevent the recruitment of youth towards radicalization.
Opondo explained that the initiative is being implemented through multi-facet approach where the National Government Security team, County and National government officers and community members can be trained together through a joint forum, where they can strategize and come up with modalities to prevent radicalization among the vulnerable youth.
The Busia County Commissioner (CC), Joseph Kanyiri advised the youth to be vigilant and refuse to be swayed in joining illegal groups.
Kanyiri urged the local youth to be patriotic and report suspicious characters to security agencies for appropriate action.
“It is also not advisable for the youth to visit social media sites that can lure them into engaging in acts of terrorism,” he said.
at the same time, the CC urged parents to know the whereabouts of their children and those with whom they associate during this period of pandemic.
“They should also mind the company their children keep to ensure that they are not misled by bad friends,” he said, adding that parents should also play a role in ensuring security within the country.
By Salome Akwanda