Several research works have highlighted the importance of utilizing soft power approaches in dealing with violent extremism at the community level. The hard power approach which is usually associated with governments, and related to the law enforcement agencies, have not achieved the much-needed goal of counter violent extremism (CVE) at the community level. In fact, these approaches have created a barrier and information clog where the community cannot open and volunteer information about violent extremism. Kamukunji constituency and more so Eastleigh has had its fair share of attacks and operations meant to flush out extremists from within it. The Usalama watch, acclaimed as one of the most ruthless operations in Kamukunji, have created a gap between the community and the law enforcement agencies.
There is evidence that such operations among others, target ethnic group and pull-back the gains of various CVE program and activities implemented in such an area. A recent study by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) looking at community resilience to violent extremism shows that relationships built through recognition of law enforcement teams at the community level helps in countering violent extremism. This is because the community easily shares information without fear of victimization. The relationship building as stated above, until recently by the CTI program, have not been considered, with respect to program implementations in Kamukunji. To this end, the CTI program was born with the aim of building partnerships with law enforcement to expand psychosocial services for at-risk communities and police in Nairobi. Scofield Associates (SA) in partnership with Tawakal Medical Clinic, implemented the Community Together Initiative (CTI) program in Kamukunji (Eastliegh North; Eastleigh South) between October 2015 and December 2016. The CTI program ensured a fair representation of the male and females in its activities representing a 2:1 ration consistently all through the program. Though the program was not able to achieve its results fully, the impact of this activity is still being felt as the relationships between the community and police, have continued even through social media where the support groups have formed a What’s-Up discussion forum to talk about issues that affect them in the community.
Flexibility on the part of the program was an advantage as the issues and activities could be suggested and controlled by the members of the community. One such example included a community discussion forum between gang related youth groups as the first practicum and exercise of alternative dispute resolution in the community. This meeting which was also attended by representatives from the law enforcement team ensured that tensions between the two groups and with the police, are reduced. On the other hand, this flexibility ensured that priority is given to some activities and no other based on the time available, cost and impact. To this end, most of the meetings at the police station that would have otherwise required more time to set up, permission and approval requests and more costs were scaled down to informal meetings and discussions.
A conducted baseline study and an end-line study sampled 40 individuals each for the CTI program study. The sampled size for each of the study consist of 32 non-law enforcer (NLE) and 10 law enforcer (LE) i.e. 75% NLW and 25% LE all spread across the 5 wards in Kamakunji.