80 members of the Strong Cities Network’s Local Prevention Networks from across six Jordanian and Lebanese municipalities convened last month in Beirut for a regional training workshop on Building a PVE Activity Action Plan for Stronger Cities.
Marking the first occasion on which the full membership of every Local Prevention Network participated in joint learning and training, the workshop is the latest in an extensive capacity-building programme in Jordan and Lebanon run by the SCN with support from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project has seen the creation and training of six municipality-led Local Prevention Networks in Saida, Tripoli and Majdal Anjar in Lebanon, and Karak, Irbid and Zarqa in Jordan.
The event was opened by the advisor to the Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities (MoI) and representative from the Jordanian Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MOMA) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Both the Lebanese and Jordanian officials spoke about the important role municipalities can play in PVE and endorsed the fruitful cooperation with Denmark and the Strong Cities Network.
The Local Prevention Network members received training on how develop, plan and implement a PVE pilot activity in their local community and had the opportunity to exchange experiences between the different municipalities. The attendees designed the PVE activities specifically for their own local community and received feedback on their action plans by an external expert panel composed of civil society specialists and the newly appointed advisor to the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fadi Abi Allam. Each Local Prevention Network’s PVE activities will take place in autumn 2017 with direct support from the SCN.
In delivering its activities, the municipality of Saida will make full use of its vibrant civil society organisations and will organise several awareness-raising sessions in cooperation with local CSOs and media to publicise the aim and the work of the Local Prevention Network. The aim is to engage local grassroots organisations in community PVE efforts. The members of the Zarqa Local Prevention Network want to respond to the hateful discourse preached in specific local mosques, and plan a series of roundtable discussions bringing together 50 religious leaders and Islamic scholars. The Tripoli network opted for an online social media campaign dedicated to fact-checking and promoting media literacy, targeting vulnerable “closed” chat-groups and forums.
July’s two-day workshop represents the first step in creating a regional platform for linking local and national level stakeholders to discuss efforts to prevent violent extremism. The workshop received overwhelmingly positive feedback and participants noted the importance of sharing best practices and ideas across cities and countries whilst working together to prevent violent extremism.
The next regional training workshop will take place in the autumn and will focus on mentoring vulnerable youth.