The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting a Strong Cities Network (SCN) pilot project, implemented by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in Lebanon under the patronage of the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities and in Jordan under the patronage of the Ministry of Municipality Affairs. The aim of the project is to build municipal, local-level capacity for Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) in Lebanon and Jordan.
The project has established six municipal-led “Prevention Networks” across Lebanese and Jordanian municipalities. These networks consist of local practitioners who work with youth, such as faith leaders, NGO representatives, government officials, teachers, social workers, community police officers etc. with a focal point based in the municipality. The purpose of the Prevention Networks is to coordinate on PVE efforts and to act as the key local body for determining local P/CVE priorities, to design local strategies and deliver to local PVE activities.
The Prevention Networks serve as locally owned platforms, enabling a more focused approach to PVE and facilitating the coordination of prevention activities including:
- Identifying general and local causes of risk behaviour within the local communities
- Raising awareness about propaganda or recruitment tactics of violent groups among young people and those who work with youth with the aim of reducing their effectiveness
- Identifying and sharing knowledge about activities that could help to protect individuals or communities from being recruited into violence
- Motivating and inspiring other institutions and professionals to work with PVE
- Developing ideas and suggestions for prevention of radicalisation and extremism in the local area including further support/referral programs
Each Prevention Network meets on a monthly basis to identify local risk factors and behaviours in each community to share experiences and good practices to prevent violent extremism amongst youth. The Prevention Networks have recently formulated Terms of References, outlining the PVE objectives and their target groups, and are currently preparing PVE community outreach activities. The project is based on continuous dialogue between the local and national level to support the development of suitable PVE approaches and programmes that serve the needs of each locality, feeding into the development of national strategies and local action plans.