Engaging women and youth in preventing and countering violent extremism
Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda/ East and Southern Africa Region
The challenge

Eastern and Southern Africa continues to experience violence and instability, including terrorism, characterized by porous borders, a proliferation of funds, evolving terrorist modus operandi and intensified recruitment efforts. Violent extremism is fueled by strong gender dynamics underpinned in extreme patriarchal political beliefs and anti-feminist and misogynistic social models. Religion, and Islam in particular, has been used to encourage violence undermining principles of equality and justice. 

Hence, there is a need to open the public space for debate and dialogue for a new public discourse to emerge on Islam and women’s rights, bringing together relevant actors, including religious leaders, academics, and civil society to build a movement of change. The promotion of gender equality and youth empowerment can be a countermeasure to violent extremism, given the effects on women and girls and young people are unique and disproportionately affected by terrorism and violent extremism, often being subjected to systematic sexual and gender-based violence, limited access to basic needs and services, livelihood opportunities and exclusion from decision-making processes. the project will seek to respond to the climate-gender and security nexus in the context of violent extremism.

The project

The project seeks to institutionalize gender and youth in regional and national PVE and CT policies, strategies, and frameworks, which will pave the way for advancing gender equality and youth empowerment in processes, programmes and operations. It will also bring an innovative approach of embedding gender perspectives through the engagement of faith actors who can use their mobilizing capacity to promote an equalitarian society.


The project will be jointly implemented by the UN Women Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Nairobi (Kenya) in collaboration with the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa based in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and the UNOCT Regional Office in Nairobi, including Country Offices of UN Women and UNDP, and UNAOC based in New York.

The project will:

  • Strengthen the capacity of regional and national stakeholders to develop and implement gender and youth transformative PVE and CT responses in line with national and international standards. 
  • Increase women and young women-led civil society organizations have increased knowledge and critical thinking capacities and are better positioned to engage in the prevention of violent extremism efforts at both, grassroots, and policy level. 
  • Establish a constructive dialogue between women, youth and criminal justice authorities and empower them to jointly build resilient, cohesive, and peaceful communities to prevent and respond to violent extremism and new emerging threats.
Expected impact

Contribute to gender and youth transformative prevention and countering violent extremism and counter-terrorism (PVE/CT) in the East and Southern Africa Region., including an enabling environment for women’s and youth leadership and participation in efforts to prevent and respond to violent extremism

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