On 22 November, Governor Hassan Ali Joho of Mombasa, Kenya, and Deputy Mayor Jørgen Kristiansen of Kristiansand, Norway, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The signing ceremony took place on the margins of a city exchange between Kristiansand and Mombasa. This is a significant milestone for the two cities, coming out of the efforts of Governor Joho and Deputy Mayor Kristiansen to foster collaboration and learning under the auspices of the Strong Cities Network over the last three years.
The MOU outlines a comprehensive bilateral cooperation programme between the two cities in the realm of prevention of extremism, involving practitioner exchanges and trainings, but also youth exchanges, civil society mobilisation, and crime and violence prevention programming.
Governor Hassan Ali Joho said that he had high hopes that the MOU was only the first step in building a far-reaching, long-lasting cooperation between the two cities. Deputy Mayor Jorgen Kristiansen concurred, noting “the work really starts now.”
The MOU signing concluded the second installment of the Kristiansand-Mombasa city exchange, and focused on local level, holistic approaches to P/CVE. The delegation was led by Deputy Mayor Kristiansen together with senior-level colleagues from the city, local police and the Office for Crime Prevention, which coordinates on these measures in Kristiansand, involving actors such as schools, families, and social services.
During their presentation of the Kristiansand approach, members of the delegation and their counterparts were able to discuss similarities and differences, as well as opportunities and challenges of implementation in the two contexts. There was also an opportunity to exchange learnings with a number of local and national government stakeholders as well as local civil society, including youth-led organisations and youth from the wider community. Present at this event were the County Government Departments for Youth, Gender and Sports, Health, Devolution and Public Service, as well as Mombasa’s County Commissioner’s Office.
Finally, the delegation met with young activists participating in the Young Cities Mombasa Innovation Lab, and were taken by the similarities with what young people expressed in Kristiansand: “A lot of young people, be it here or in our cities in Norway, want the same thing: to be seen, to be heard” said Deputy Mayor Kristiansand to the room of young activists.