Discussions around countering/ preventing violent extremism have focused on having the different communities build capacities to deal with the issues affecting them. Community Resilience to Violent Extremism as it is sometime called, has had different factors to be considered including; community protective outlook, public/private partnerships, dispute resolution and recognition of law enforcement. As a starting point, governments that use hard power approaches to deal with violent extremism, have put the law enforcement on the spot to the extent that they cannot communicate with the community members, receive information from them or have a basic relationship with them.
Scofield Associates together and Tawakal Medical held a community together initiative project review at the Rift Valley Institute on Tuesday the 31st January this year. The main aim of this was to enlighten the major stakeholders dealing with community together initiative in the country on the overall project and sharing on what works at the community level. The project was developed by Scofield Associates and Implemented by Tawakal Medical Clinic whose directors are; Dr. Abdikadir and Dr. Maimuna. The two directors discovered that most of their patients where coming in due to psychosomatic pain; this is basically mental and emotional illness with physical or bodily symptoms. When they probed further on the possible causes, they released the need to have a program that would not only bridge the gap in the community but would create a bond between the community and the law enforcement agencies within the area.
A baseline survey conducted within Kamukunji constituency and more specifically Eastleigh area discovered that hard approach to conflict management created stress within the community which led to violent outburst and forms of extremism. It further noted that to be able to counter this, counselling and psychosocial support needed to be done. Scofield Associates and Tawakal Medical Clinic with support from the US State Department proceeded to model a program that would provide training and relationship building with the aim of bringing the law enforcers and community members together to foster peace within the area.
When the end line survey was done, led by Julius Adinoyi, who is the lead researcher at Scofield Associates it was noted that there was a noticeable improvement with regards to information sharing, relationship building and the use of non-violent means of resolving conflict. Senior Sergeant Mwangi, who oversees one of the Administrative police base in Eastleigh also noted that the relationship between law enforcement and the community members had improved further emphasizing that they had become friends with members of the community. To further foster peace and unity, the community and the members of the police force need to have more activities the bring them together. The main highlight of the day was that the police and the community members have a clear and open communication channel through what’s up and Facebook messenger and other social media sites.
This forum was facilitated by the director of Scofield associates Mr. Muliru, with presentations from Mr. Julius Adinoyi, S.A, Dr. Abdikadir Warsame from Tawakal Medical Clinic, Senior Sergeant Mwangi, Administrative Police and Mr. Liban; community member who benefited from this program. The team also had a chance to answer a couple of questions that where presented to the them by audience members present.