Youth in the Coastal region of Kenya have been challenged to support efforts expended towards addressing radicalization and violent extremism.
Kenya Community Support Center (KECOSCE), a local civic organization based in Mombasa, which is working towards achieving peace and security in the Coastal, Garissa and Nairobi counties, called on the youth to shun extremist ideologies that lead to violent extremism and terrorism in the region.
Speaking during the launch of “Tusemezane Vijana” project, which loosely translates to Lets Dialogue, Phyllis Muema, the Executive Director, KECOSCE, said the youth need skills and awareness to avoid being recruited into terrorist groups.
Tusemezane Vijana is a USAID project implemented under the SCORE- Strengthening Community Resilience against Extremism activity.
“Unemployed youth have become an easy target for recruitment into the violent extremist groups, often riding on the promise of monetary gains,” said Phyllis.
Through the project, out of school and unemployed youth will be trained on de-radicalization and countering violent extremism and or terrorism. With the knowledge acquired through the trainings, they will in-turn educate their peers on the same.
“We believe this ‘Tusemezane Vijana’ project will help save the youth from illegal and terrorist networks. Most families have suffered here at the Coast hence the need to use both local and international recommended strategies to curb the vice,” said Muema.
Through the project, several youth-led security committees have been formed in Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Garissa and Nairobi counties in a bid to stem the vice.
She explained that the committees will receive training from the National Steering Committee (NSC) as well as from the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on peace in order to make them aware of how to handle such delicate security matters in their respective areas.
“It is saddening to note that some youth have been lured into applying ‘questionable’ international jobs only to find themselves recruited in terror groups,” she said while urging the youth to be very careful whenever they apply for job vacancies announced by unknown companies.
She added: “How can an employer order you to surrender your national identity card before offering you a job? These are the things we will be highlighting during the peace and security training at the Coast, Garissa and Nairobi.”
To ensure sustainability and self reliance, the SCORE supported project aims at ensuring the trained youth are not left on their own but also equipped with the knowledge on how to access government’s funds through initiatives like the Youth fund to enable them engage in income generating activities for sustainable livelihoods.
Kenya Community Support Center (KECOSCE), is one of the local organization that Act! is supporting through the SCORE activity with homegrown solutions to address the root causes of conflict and violent extremism, as well as reduce the allure of potentially radicalizing messages.