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Africa Summit: Supporting City-Led Efforts to Address Hate, Extremism and Polarisation

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Above: Speakers at the event ranged from multilateral organisations, national and local governments, and civil society from countries including Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco.

Over the past few years, the Strong Cities Network has worked across several cities in Africa, specifically in Kenya and Nigeria to support city-led efforts against hate, polarization and extremism. Our work has included working alongside county governments and local civil society organisations to gain a better understanding of the PVE programmatic design, challenges and good practices.

In an attempt to continue its work on the greater continent, Strong Cities hosted an Africa Summit: Supporting City-Led Efforts to Address Hate, Extremism and Polarisation between late November and early December 2021. Over the course of five days, two-hour sessions were held to convene different experts and stakeholders on a range of relevant topics pertaining to the prevention of violent extremism in Africa. Speakers representing international agencies like UNODC, UNDP, GCTF West Africa Working Group’s Co-Chair, Germany, as well as representatives from local civil society, national and local government from countries like Uganda, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco were invited to present and share their unique contextual experiences.

The sessions included topics such as improving national-local cooperation on PVE; multi-stakeholder action planning and coordination and the role of cities and sub-national governments; ‘whole of society’ approach to PVE during COVID-19; and youth inclusion on PVE. Key recommendations that were made by speakers included, among others, improving and promoting cooperation between international organisations, local and national government and local civil society organisations. Speakers highlighted the importance of continuing the discussions and hosting regular events between relevant stakeholders and practitioners to ensure lessons are exchanged on threat assessments, context mapping and PVE programme design in different cities, countries and regions.

Multi-stakeholder approaches have proven successful in the implementation of PVE activities and discussions highlighted the need for cooperation between different stakeholders such as the private sector, local government, health practitioners and religious institutions. Additionally, speakers emphasized the upsurge in issues like poverty, lack of access to services and unemployment and amplification of existing grievances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges brought about by the pandemic stresses the need for local, national government and local organisations to double down on efforts to alleviate the marginalisation of vulnerable communities. Lastly, speakers discussed the inclusion of youth in PVE programming and one recommendation made was that PVE activities need to be interesting and age-appropriate to ensure youth participation.

As the next steps, Strong Cities will be expanding its network and activities on the Africa continent, engaging with more city and civil society representatives in the coming year. If you would like to request more information about Strong Cities in Africa, please send us an email at [email protected]