Community Resilience and Violent Extremism; Similarities in Australia and Kenya

Articles & Insights

May 28, 2016

“Community resilience may be the solution to the challenges in the community including those of radicalization, recruitment and violent extremism.”

— Prof. Michele Grossman

There are various discussions on strengthening the community’s initiatives dealing with conflict at different levels. Most times it is assumed that the community lacks the capacity to deal with issues affecting them and solutions are imposed on them to respond  to their problems. Most program have often assumed the capacities of the communities to sustainably deal with the issues. In such instances, a top-down option is often applied with no-to-little success.
Globally, there are discussion to have new ways of dealing with issues in the community at the grass root. With the recent threat of violent extremism and terrorism affecting communities locally and globally, conversations around community led management and response remain critical. Additionally, such conversations question the capacities within certain communities, that make them  push the challenges related to terrorism away from them while remaining stable. Such communities remain stable in contexts where others fail or  fall victims to the same challenges. The root causes of violent extremism remain the  highlight of the programs and donor initiatives in the Horn of Africa.


On the 27th of May 2016, Scofield Associates team had the opportunity of meeting with the Australian deputy high commission to Kenya; Mr. Jeremy Green and Prof. Michele Grossman from Victoria University in Melbourne; to discuss some synergies to be created through research. It was an opportunity to share on some lessons  from United States Institute of Peace’s work on Community Resilience to Violent Extremism. In her presentation, Prof. Michele mentioned that her work in  Australia and the community resilience study in Kenya, had some similarities.
Community resilience is  now gaining ground with community led capacities requiring strengthening. The lens of viewing government engagement and impact to the communities can now be easily analysed through the framework of community resilience.  Community resilience may be the solution to the challenges in the community including that of radicalization, recruitment and violent extremism.