Amid recent attacks from violent extremist groups and incidents of conflict exacerbated by COVID-19 and the Philippines’ ongoing recession, a local chapter of the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Extremely Together (ET) initiative was launched, called Extremely Together Philippines – Panaghiusa.
The programme, funded by the European Union (EU), aims to train young Filipinos to promote peace and prevent violent extremism (PVE). The programme is locally-led by the non-profit organization KRIS. It is part of a larger project to strengthen youth and civil society organizations (CSOs) to foster social cohesion in South and Southeast Asia.
“We have to let young people think outside the box, use their creativity, and lead, especially because they know their peers best.”
“Through Extremely Together Philippines, we aim to empower young people with the knowledge, tools, network, and support they need to be peacebuilders in their communities. We can’t address these old and lasting problems with the same solutions again and again. We have to let young people think outside the box, use their creativity, and lead, especially because they know their peers best,” said Arizza Nocum, head of the ET Philippines Chapter, one of the 10 ET Young Leaders and President and Co-Founder of KRIS.
The first ET Philippines training session engaged 100 young people from urban areas in Luzon and Mindanao on peacebuilding and project management.
“We have chosen to target Manila and the surrounding areas: Davao City, Zamboanga City, Marawi City, and Jolo, Sulu since these are areas that have been hit hard by violent extremism and conflict. Many young people in these areas are particularly vulnerable to both recruitment to violent groups and the impact of extremism. We want to help them understand the context and develop solutions to help them and those around them,” Nocum shared.
Following the training, participants are given the opportunity to submit project proposals on the training program’s theme. From each cohort, three best proposals will receive seed funding of Php 30,000.
The regional project in South and Southeast Asia, supported by the European Union is made possible by KRIS in the Philippines, the College of Youth Activism and Development (CYAAD) in Pakistan, and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) in Bangladesh.
Established in 2008, KRIS started by building libraries, providing scholarships, and donating educational materials to schools in areas affected by conflict and poverty in the Philippines. Today, KRIS focuses on the following work: building young people’s capacities on peacebuilding, providing online and offline platforms to promote positive values of unity and empathy, and empowering young Filipinos through leadership and education.
Find out more about Extremely Together young leader Arizza Nocum
About Extremely Together
Extremely Together is a global youth-led initiative to prevent violent extremism by the Kofi Annan Foundation. Launched in 2016, it created a network of 10 young leaders and produced a toolkit on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) for young people.
Extremely Together has local Chapters in Asia and Africa. It continues to actively reach and engage young people worldwide through advocacy, training, and events focused on youth inclusion, peace, and PVE.