Systemic approach to PVE: notes from the field experimentation.
February 10, 2023
There is no ready-to-go or one size fits all solutions when we talk about PVE.
Security is a common value. It comes with a cost.
This is a general reflection on what is being done, why and what can be done better. Is there any room for innovative approaches in PVE? I guess yes if we try to go out of the box, breaking silos and co-designing creative activities involving various community-level stakeholders.
System thinking relating to the PVE in the Kyrgyz Republic is a “sense-making” tool, bridging all elements altogether allowing to break through the siloes approach and thus bringing a result-driven change.
PVE is an area that requires a systemic approach, coherent policy, deep analysis of the root causes, dynamics, trade-offs and opportunities.
UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic has been working in the area of PVE for some time and our recent project on “Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism in Asia" founded by the EU covered policy-level actors and nation plans, community-level advisory groups, inclusive dialogue platforms for faith-based organizations, local civil society actors and Local self-government bodies reflecting a whole-of -government and a whole-of-society approach. As PVE does not propose a one-fit-for-all solution, prevention of violent extremism is not a one-person-desk exercise. It requires engagement of a wide range of actors and diving into local communities’ practices.
Positive peace doesn’t mean absence of conflict. Shrinking social cohesion originating from lack of opportunities for youth and adult population, migration, poverty, inefficient rule of law system, other vital and social opportunities for decent life, contribute to a breeding ground for potential fighters willing to engage in new levels of violence, both in their communities and abroad.
Winning young people back to their communities through building socially cohesive, meaningful, and nurturing environments where they could grow and develop. This is something, UNDP contributes by implementing projects on PVE. Socio - economic aspect of creating socially cohesive and resilient societies can’t go without all knowledge keepers such as academia, government, civil society and private sector. Development organizations and businesses can share their knowledge in how to create new business opportunities, jobs and income generating activities thus playing their own unique role in partnership with government and civil society. This makes part of the whole-of-society approach in addressing and preventing violent extremism and risks related to it.
Advisory groups in communities aim at making community prevention centers work sustainably. Key limitation is that those activities depend on local budget fundings. Sometimes they are framed as one-time exercises with no chance to provide tangible impact on behavior change as it takes more time, consistency, and finance.
Designing business acceleration programs and supporting local PVE-related initiatives through small grants aiming at more sustainable solutions – this is something that is being experimented in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Acceleration programs for social entrepreneurship play an essential role in reducing the drivers of violent extremism, by creating windows of opportunities with access to finance, networks, knowledge exchange, jobs in an inclusive way. Self-employment and decent employment opportunities require education, skills development, social inclusion for youth development which in the time of constant crisis becomes almost a luxury.
The business solution normally deals with and resolves the main headache of the client through its goods and/or services. It takes time to do market research, to know the client’s pain, expectations to build relevant solutions. The same goes for social entrepreneurship. Advisory groups working for PVE in their communities are the knowledge keepers and they know the pain, limitations, and problems local population. Though it’s hard for them to propose sustainable and creative solutions, at least partially covering those drivers. It would be never enough to engage only with Advisory groups and expect that they would create magic. On the contrary, only through meaningful engagement of all local stakeholders: local authorities, civil society, business, academia, youth, and women’s groups, a viable solution can be found. UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic provides support through Acceleration programs, which is a platform for knowledge sharing and providing impetus to local communities in their efforts in PVE.
Just to wrap up:
Implicit versus explicit tailoring the PVE.
- No clear definition of the PVE.
- Sensitivity of the topic.
- Stigmatization and misconception of PVE at the community level.
- “Not my circus, not my monkey” approach by various stakeholders; silos thinking.
- Difficulties in measuring impact and identifying the unintended negative impact.
- “Slippery slope” – instrumentalization for securitization of the PVE legislation.
There is no magic formula for PVE efforts. Whatever activities are being taken, it is crucial to research the context, existing mechanisms and stakeholders, root causes, trade-offs, dynamics, and opportunities for systemic and whole-of-society approaches. Every societal player has their own role to perform, starting from the education system, and ending with law enforcement and local authorities. Prevention cost potentially less than dealing with aftermath consequences.
Nargiza Tashtemirova, Project Associate on Peacebuilding