Posted August 4, 2022
After the increased interest and success of season 1 of the podcast series #ExploringExtremism, the UNDP Regional PVE Project for Africa, in collaboration with the Oslo Governance Centre, is launching a spin-off series to complement the UNDP flagship report Journey to Extremism.
Despite significant investment by the international community to combat violent extremism, it has been steadily increasing in sub-Saharan Africa. African countries have taken considerable steps to strengthen national and regional counter-terrorism measures, complemented by continental and international assistance. Nevertheless, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 48% of global terrorism deaths in 2021, with the number of attacks accelerating tenfold since 2007 in the Sahel.
The growth of violent extremism is an imminent threat to peace, stability and development in Africa. The 2017 ‘Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment’ generated an unprecedented empirical database, contributed to improved understanding about drivers of recruitment, and provided more clarity and nuance to the discussion on which specific development challenges should be addressed in the realm of preventing violent extremism (PVE). Given the fast-changing dynamics of violent extremism exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, UNDP embarked on a second phase of the Journey to Extremism in Africa research, collecting 2,234 interviews in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.
With the rich evidence-based dataset, the research examines specific thematic areas, including an analysis on “Patterns in Child Recruitment and Retention of Violent Extremist Groups in Africa and Pathways for Preventative Efforts.”
This podcast discussion sheds light on the perceptions around child recruitment and the experiences of the former recruits themselves. The data from former members of violent extremist groups suggests that targeted child recruitment strategies were highly identified for ex-members from both Boko Haram and Al-Shabab, underlining the high stakes of combatting the phenomenon of dedicated child recruitment.
This podcast, featuring two leading civil society partners in the field of prevention of violence, social cohesion building and reintegration – the NEEM Foundation (Nigeria) and the Elman Peace Centre (Somalia) – unpacks and contextualizes the main findings on the factors around children's vulnerability to recruitment, and the concrete approaches taken to build resilience to recruitment.