Our latest research explores potential entry points to engage young people in preventing violent extremism.
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Launched in 2016 by the Kofi Annan Foundation, the initiative’s global network of 10 young leaders and country chapters responds to the increasing threat of recruitment and narratives of violent extremist groups. By using a peer-to-peer approach, the youth-led initiative acts upon the gap in international and national efforts aimed at preventing violent extremism (PVE), where young people are understood as a threat to security rather than enablers of peace.
Extremely Together aims to provide a sense of identity and purpose to young people worldwide, helping them work for positive change and peace in their communities.
By equipping young people with tools and knowledge as well as reinforcing alternative narratives and positive values of ‘togetherness’, Extremely Together seeks to enable youth to engage and play a leading role in peace and PVE at local, regional, and international fora.
Kofi Annan knew that young people, when empowered, can be key agents for development and peace. He warned that if they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Our Extremely Together initiative aims to ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.
The initiative’s 10 Extremely Together young leaders from 10 different countries are experts in PVE through their own initiatives and experiences. They have created the first ever PVE toolkit by young people to young people, which has been used to train young people in Morocco, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Benin, Germany, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, India and Pakistan.
Extremely Together Chapters are local networks that equip young people to reject the narratives of violent extremism, engage them in concrete actions to prevent violent extremism and promote togetherness within their communities. They do so by using various approaches, such as theatre, arts, sports, dialogue, communication campaigns and training. The initiative has established 4 local chapters in Uganda, Somalia, Pakistan, and the Philippines and has on the ground presence in Bangladesh.
The creation of good practices on how to engage and mobilize young people in peace and PVE is embedded across ET’s action. The initiative has also produced regional research on the factors driving youth into violent extremism among urban youth in Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
Extremely Together advocates for youth leadership in peace and security, aiming to elevate young people’s voices and participation at the highest levels of national, regional and international decision- and policymaking. The initiative has facilitated speaking opportunities, publications and media engagements [for example Time, The Independent, Bloomberg, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Manila Times and the BBC.]
ET Young Leaders have advocated for youth inclusion in PVE at numerous events, including the UN General Assembly, the European Development Days, the Commonwealth Youth Forum and the African Union’s Youth Silencing the Guns conference. Extremely Together’s peer-to-peer approach was captured in the 2019 Youth Solutions Report launched at UN General Assembly.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from the Philippines, whose initiative builds libraries to promote education and interfaith as a preventative solution to extremism.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Norway and survivor of the Anders Breivik terrorist attack, who uses art to counter extreme right wing narratives.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from the United Kingdom, who works to research and advise on counter-extremism policy.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Libya, working to engage women and young people in peace building.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Somalia, who works to deradicalise members of Al Shabaab and promote gender equality in Africa.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Nigeria, whose work advocates education-based solutions to prevent radicalisation and extremism.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Germany, and co-founder of 180° Wende, a Cologne-based organisation engaging with young people affected by extremism.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Uganda, who works to train teachers, Imams and young people in countering violent extremism.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Pakistan, who focuses on counter extremism, social innovation, and interventions at different intersections between society and state.
Extremely Together’s Young Leader from Syria, who aims to create economic opportunities for the young to show alternatives violent extremism.