The study determines the various community capacities that underlie community resilience to violent extremism, and understands if supporting these capacities can prevent violent extremism in Kenya. The understanding of how communities undermine and regulate violent extremist groups helps in reducing local risk and decreasing the improving vulnerability. This puts into consideration that there is ensured and more targeted support. Additionally, if core capacities and successful strategies are identified across communities, there is a high chance of creating an evidence-based foundation for successful preventive programming.
USIP, in partnership with Scofield Associates, Sahan Research, and local interviewers, conducted two rounds of surveys and focus group discussions in Eastleigh and Pumwani in Nairobi, and Tononoka, Kisauni, Majengo Mombasa, and Kongowea in Mombasa. The first round of surveys helped identify unique community capacities in each community, and the second survey confirmed or disproved various hypotheses around resilience strategies. This study was conducted between October to November 2015 for the first round and February – March in 2016 for the second round. The representative sample of the study covers; the youth, elders, women, community leaders and the religious leaders.
The study is part of other international efforts to understand conflict dynamics in local communities, and, more importantly, what capacities, strategies and actions communities take to prevent or manage violence. The key assumptions of the study were:
- The community witnessed an increased (15% compared to the baseline value) understanding of what counselling means and also recommended counselling as the pillars of CVE.
- Communities that believe they can affect the security situation and act together to protect their neighbourhoods prevent violent groups from entering their neighbourhoods.
- Communities with pre-existing leadership structures that engage internally can resist violent movements.