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USAID: Exploring the Integration of Youth and Trauma-Informed Approaches in P/CVE Programming in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The Strong Cities Network led a roundtable discussion with preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) practitioners.

In September, the Strong Cities Network participated in a roundtable in Nairobi hosted by USAID and the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS) on Exploring the Integration of Youth and Trauma-Informed Approaches into P/CVE Programming in Africa.

The two-day event brought together P/CVE practitioners from across Sub-Saharan Africa to discuss how youth can be better integrated into P/CVE programming, and how efforts to ensure better mental health among youth could strengthen P/CVE programming and bolster community cohesion across the region. The roundtable emphasised that, much like a country’s education and development programmes, prevention efforts should be youth-inclusive, implemented as a national priority and aim to address other issues of insecurity, such as poor mental health, drug abuse, crime, gang and gender-based violence, in addition to violent extremism. Several good practices were shared, including hosting ‘listening campaigns’ before programme inception so that activities are driven by local understanding and encourage local ownership.

Practitioners emphasised the important role that mental health support plays in P/CVE. The success of P/CVE activities greatly depends on whether past and current trauma, and stigma around seeking mental health support, are addressed and prioritised.

Strong Cities’ Africa Programme Lead, Isel van Zyl, shared work led by Strong Cities’ youth pillar, Young Cities, which fosters collaboration between local government and young people to address the issues facing their communities, and the findings of the new Strong Cities report on Addressing the Overlooked Role of African Cities in Preventing & Countering Violent Extremism.

The report will guide and inform the work of the Network’s new Regional Hubs to catalyse city-led efforts to address extremism, hate and polarisation.