Reducing the level of violence extremism in Kenya

The root causes of violent extremism are complex, multifaceted, and intertwined, and relate to the structural environment in which radicalization and possibly violent extremism can start to take hold. Violent extremism is the product of historical, political, economic, and social circumstances, including the impact of regional and global power politics. In Lamu County,growing horizontal inequalities are one of the consistently cited drivers of violent extremism. Disruption in education and family life, an increase in drug abuse, a decline in economic investment, a spike in unemployment, has contributed to growth of radical and violent extremist activity among the youth, bringing a substantial shift in the security terrain.

LYA comprises of 18 board members and 25 youth groups whose membership is free. The organization’s main source of fund is goodwill and donations from well-wishers. LYA has a broad base of volunteers with a rare capacity mix whose experience ranges from educationists, artists, counsellors and community education officers among others.

Reducing the Level of Violence Extremism (RELEVE)program has promoted peace and peaceful coexistence among youth despite their differences by introducing community joint activities such as games, art, and drama to enhance social cohesion. Games which included football league in the whole county, swimming competition, cycling competition and cultural games such as donkey race, cooking competition have contributed towards a wider social objective by helping people overcome cultural differences and spread an atmosphere of tolerance and cohesion. Art mainly focused on Installation of graffiti/ Murals targeting youths at the different hotspots.Community joint activities engaged youths in a dialogue whereby drivers were discussed, and murals were designed and then painted by painter. This activity has brought the youths together and the drawings acts as symbolic work to help community reflect on impacts of violence extremism. Drama and theatre shows were also conducted by different theatre show groups. These theatre shows strengthened the emotional and psychological appeal of impacts of violence extremismacts and provided a believable and interesting way to explore this sensitive issue in community.