Strategic communications for building resilience to violent extremism and reducing the threat of terrorism
Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Mozambique and Tanzania and regional partners including African Union, IGAD and SADC
The challenge

The exploitation of online spaces and communications eco-systems is of growing concern in both East and West Africa as groups such as ISWAP, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab capitalise on their affiliation with Daesh and Al-Qaeda and their sophisticated communications strategies to push disinformation integrated violent extremist narratives to radicalise, recruit, train and promote their activities across their respective regions. The pandemic has also been exploited across Africa by terrorist and violent extremist groups  to weaponize disinformation and triangulate it with terrorist narratives to further their ideological and operational goals throughout the region. In addition to emergence of violent extremist groups in online spaces, recent research also suggests that low levels of internet use is associated with a likelihood of voluntary recruitment that is more likely to be shaped by peer influence as well as traditional media.

The project

National strategies and action plans of target Member States (namely Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda)to prevent and counter violent extremism and CTED assessments outline the critical importance of i) strengthening research on the root causes and drivers of terrorism and violent extremism leading to terrorism, ii) capacity-building, iii) understanding and addressing grievances and noting signs of vulnerability to radicalization, iv) strengthen and regularize dialogue on CVE between the relevant authorities and civil society, and v) provision of tailored strategic communication support through whole-of-government and whole of society interventions.
With a thematic focus on climate security, video games, and strategic communications, UNOCT, UNDP, UN Women, UNESCO and UNICRI will undertake research, gap analysis, assessments, and risk analysis to develop interventions and responses to build resilience to violent extremism and reduce the threat of terrorism in East Africa.


Climate Security:

  • Conduct gendered research on nexus between climate change and violent extremism and deliver a tailored dialogue series as well as developing a toolkit on integrating a climate perspective into PCVE policies / programmes.
  • Conduct initial risk assessment to evaluate needs, gaps and challenges, adapt training materials as needed and deliver capacity building to national authorities and CSOs.

Video Games:

  • Conduct scoping / literature review on intersection between online radicalization/gaming and violent extremism, conduct focus groups with gamers to better understand potential violent extremism threats on gaming, draft and publish report on findings, host virtual regional discussions with policy makers, gamers, tech companies, practitioners, and develop a set of recommendations for multistakeholder PCVE interventions in the gaming space in target countries.

Strategic Communications:

  • Undertake scoping/assessment exercise to identify the needs, gaps, and challenges, as well as existing policies and practices in PCVE strategic communication, disinformation, hate speech, and crisis communications within the respective countries at national and regional level
  • Conduct situational assessment on online and offline gendered violent extremism (VE) narratives, support the development of “Counter Extremism Playbook” focusing on online gendered VE messaging, conduct gender-focused ToT trainings for selected government stakeholders and Women’s of Faith Networks and selected women CSOs working on the CPVE space in target countries.
  • Design and implement national communication strategies, deliver outreaching advocacy campaigns to promote youth and women leadership for community engagement and prevention of violent extremism and support in Mozambique, support strategic communications engagement as part of early warning on PCVE in Somalia, and support to enhance communications capacity of the National Counterterrorism Centre in Tanzania.
Expected impact

Climate Security

  • Policy makers have the capacity to integrate a climate perspective into PCVE policies with a gender-inclusive focus; and
  • A climate perspective is integrated into PCVE policies and programmes in East Africa

Video Games

  • Policymakers, practitioners, tech companies, and gamers have the necessary recommendations to best address potential threats; 
  • Increased individual and institutional commitment of violence prevention/extremism using Social and Emotional Learning framework.

Strategic Communications

  • Government communications officials, CSOs and other relevant actors have greater capacity to implement good practice communications for PCVE, disinformation, hate speech, crisis coms and gendered narratives; and
  • The impact of violent extremist narratives, including those that utilize disinformation, hate speech, gender, or exploit crises and returnees is markedly reduced.

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