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In September 2022, the Strong Cities Network launched STRIVE Cities, a three-year global action funded by the European Union. STRIVE Cities supports Strong Cities Regional Hubs in East & Southern Africa, and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), as well as global activities, such as the Strong Cities Transatlantic Dialogue Initiative, Fourth Global Summit, Resource Hub and publications therein, and more.

STRIVE Cities is one of multiple capacity-building projects the EU supports as part of its STRIVE (Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism) Initiative.

The Context

The EU’s support for Strong Cities, a global network of cities dedicated to enhancing city-led action against hate, extremism and polarisation, comes in recognition of three main factors:

First, that these threats are locally rooted, with violent extremist and other armed groups exploiting local political, social and economic grievances to recruit and mobilise others.

Second, despite growing realisation internationally of the need for a whole-of-society approach to what has traditionally been seen as the exclusive remit of national actors, local governments remain largely overlooked and unsupported to play a role.

Third, that local governments must be included to effectively (and sustainably) stem the rising tide of hate and extremism. Not only do they have access and proximity to residents, they can also leverage their existing public service mandates, whether related to housing, employment, urban development, etc., to build socially-cohesive cities where all residents feel included and heard.

Regional Hubs

STRIVE Cities supports Regional Hubs in East & Southern Africa (ESA) and Middle East & North Africa (MENA), which are staffed by local experts and support cities through peer learning opportunities (including mayoral and city convenings), facilitating dialogues with national government counterparts to enhance national-local cooperation, training, ongoing needs mappings, and more. Regional Hubs are supporting cities to identify and localise international good practices and provide an platform through which to share their innovative approaches and experiences with other cities around the world. 

The STRIVE-supported Regional Hubs build on and are informed by, inter alia, an EU-funded mapping of the needs and priorities of African cities in prevention, which Strong Cities conducted in 2022. The mapping recognises that in addition to the overlooked roles of cities in prevention, African cities face the added challenge of both porous borders and rapid urbanisation, with cities in Africa being among the world’s fastest growing, which may overwhelm public services and create conditions conducive to hate, extremism and polarisation. The mapping shed light on what local governments across the continent feel they need to be able to mitigate these threats and/or respond where they have already manifested. The ESA and MENA Regional Hubs are supporting cities to address these and other needs.

Global Action

STRIVE Cities supports a range of invaluable Network activities beyond the ESA and MENA Regional Hubs. With EU support, Strong Cities members now have access to a multilingual, multimedia online Resource Hub, a living library of tools and guides to enhance mayoral and city-led action against hate and extremism. STRIVE Cities also contributes to mayoral and city convenings held under our Transatlantic Dialogue Initiative and supports our Global Summits, which showcase city-led innovation in prevention on a global scale and enhance global-local cooperation by connecting cities with the global prevention architecture.

Year in Review

Since its launch, STRIVE Cities has enabled the Network to significantly scale its reach and impact globally. For example, while Strong Cities had previously in both the ESA and MENA regions, this engagement had been limited to Jordan, Kenya and Lebanon. With the support of STRIVE Cities, this engagement has expanded to include close to 20 member cities in MENA and more than 30 in ESA, reflecting the geographic breadth and diversity in both regions.  

Hear what cities are saying about our impact

Our participation in Strong Cities activities has helped me see that Masaka City, and myself as mayor, are not alone in dealing with these issues. We are not on an island. It has been helpful to learn from and build relationships with mayors in other cities to learn from what others are doing to inspire what my city does. Strong Cities is an amazing platform that has offered a learning experience for me and also validated our city efforts.

Florence Namayanja – Mayor, Masaka City, Uganda

Engagement with Strong Cities has had a very positive impact on the city’s practitioners and municipal officials. To be honest, we didn’t expect this result. It has exceeded our expectations.

Local Government Representative – Saida Municipality, Lebanon

True impact can only happen when we collaborate. That’s why it was so important to join Strong Cities, to learn from each other about how we address these issues. Together, we will eliminate hate and extremism.

Amarjeet Sohi – Mayor of Edmonton, Canada

I am really happy, and it’s rare that I am happy or satisfied insuch fora/big meetings at the international level, as a woman and an elected official.

Nadia Chadi – Deputy Mayor of Tetouan, Morocco



Gertrude Rose Gamwera Buyinga


Zouhair Racheha


Charlotte Moeyens

Chief of Staff

Is your city a Strong City?

Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.