- Several governments and NGOs are engaged in domestic and foreign ‘countering violent extremism’ (CVE) programming in the security and justice fields. USAID and the Danish government have been particularly active in this area.
- CVE activities are often divided into: hard power approaches (military, legislative, policing, infrastructure protection, crisis planning, border security, etc) and soft power approaches (ideological, communicative, political, and social).
- Identifying populations at risk is a key challenge. Much CVE programming is based on theories of change of how a person moves from non-violence to violent extremism, and vice versa. However, this is limited by a lack of evidence and consensus on understanding motivational and structural factors of these processes.
- Groups that are frequently identified for programming tend to be: living in areas which have previously experienced violent extremism; predominantly male; predominantly young, and/or living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
- Many governments have employed soft approaches to target ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’ leaders, intellectuals and organisations as mediums to influence those at risk of radicalisation.
- Political approaches like conflict resolution processes may target disenfranchised leaders or communities and seek to address underlying political, social or economic grievances.
- Programme evaluation is a central challenge in CVE programming for a number of reasons including: There is little consensus on what the key drivers of extremism and radicalisation are; it is difficult to attribute change in such a complex process; de-radicalisation programmes often need the programme to maintain close contact with the person over time – requiring significant resources; and it is difficult to create indicators to monitor success.
- Surveys have been identified as a useful evaluation technique.
- Five examples of CVE donor programmes are explored including: USAID in West Africa; Denmark’s approach; USAID Office of Transition Initiatives’ Kenya Transition Initiative; USAID youth empowerment programmes in Somalia and Kenya; and USAID and State Department radio programmes in Africa.
What evidence is there that security and justice programming (by DFID or other donors) targets specific groups (populations and victims) at risk of extremism and how has the impact been measured?