Going the extra miles to prevent violent extremism: Ramatu’s example

February 3, 2023

Ayaabila Ramatu sensitizing communities.

Ayaabila Ramatu is a 32-year-old young woman from Kpatia in Garu District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. She sells cereals and is a member of the agro-business association. She participated in a three-day training of trainers organised for women and youth in Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) to create awareness on preventing violent extremism (PVE) in the Garu and Tempane districts.

The training was organised by the Upper East Regional Peace Council in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The training aims to prevent violent extremism and this falls under UNDP’s inclusive integrated MSMEs support programme for six districts in Ghana. The integrated MSMEs support programme also involves business development services including good corporate governance, mentorship, and access to finance, and energy and resource efficiency capacity enhancement.

As part of their mandate, participants of the training were tasked to be torchbearers for the campaign against violent extremism in their communities. Ramatu, one of the beneficiaries, is already leading the charge to make a change in her community by educating others.

When asked about her motivation, Ramatu said, “when I attended the training, the issue became clearer to me and I told myself that any little opportunity I get, I will tell others about the dangers of violent extremism”.

The Chief of Kpatia, Naba Amadu Shaibu, commended Ramatu for the good work in educating her community members. “Ramatu has been very consistent with educating community folks on the concept of “see something, say something at every given opportunity”. She continues to seize opportunities at community programmes to explain why community folks need to be observant of suspicious strangers who mostly disguise as mentally impaired, preach the word of God in a suspicious way, and organize programmes or involve our youth and children without the approval of the community leaders”.

He added, “Ramatu also entreated us to always ask the following questions: What have you seen? When did it happen? Where did it happen? How did it happen? and What do I do? We are now taking our security more serious.

Ramatu is a good example, as she is demonstrating the role that community members and leaders can play in the fight against violent extremism.