After the increased interest and success of season 1 of the podcast series #ExploringExtremism, we are now launching a spin-off series, complementing the UNDP flagship report: #Journey2Extremism!

July 13, 2022


Despite significant investment by the international community to combat violent extremism, it has spread in sub-Saharan Africa, not retreated. 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, and numbers of attacks accelerated 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 provided more nuance leveraging unprecedented empirical evidence to create discussion forums on specific development challenges and means to address them in the realm of preventing violent extremism (PVE). Given the fast-changing dynamics of violent extremism, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNDP Africa PVE Project team, in 2020,  embarked on a second phase of the Journey to Extremism in Africa research, collecting over 2 000 interviews in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

With the rich evidence-based dataset, the UNDP Africa PVE Project zooms on specific section of the dataset with a deeper assessment of certain 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 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 strategy was highly identified for ex-members from both Boko Haram and Al-Shabab, underlining the high stakes of combatting this phenomenon of dedicated child recruitment.


Total respondents


% NO

 Boko Haram




 Al Shabab






This podcast, co-joint by two leading civil society partners in the field of prevention of violence, social cohesion building and reintegration – NEEM Foundation (Nigeria) and Elman Peace Centre (Somalia) – unpacks and contextualizes the main findings on factors of child’s vulnerability to recruitment including as well as concrete approaches taken to build resilience to recruitment.


Find the podcast series on the PVE Portal with other research available, or on Spotify.