Since 2020, the Kofi Annan Foundation and its Extremely Together initiative have been working with young leaders in South and Southeast Asia to prevent violent extremism in the region in the context of the “Leading the Way to Peace – Youth Together for Social Cohesion” project supported by the European Union.
The Philippines has experienced a resurgence of violent extremist activity in recent years, concentrated mainly in the South of the country. In 2019, the country ranked 10th in the Global Terrorism Index of top countries most affected by violent extremism and has experienced an average of one assault per day in the last few years. This has a profound impact on young people and marginalized communities all over the country.
Together with our partner the Kristiyano-Islamic Peace Library (KRIS), founded by Extremely Together Leader Arizza Nocum, we work to reach thousands of young people in urban areas across the Philippines. Sensitization activities include cultural events, the signing of peace pledges with young Filipinos in vulnerable areas, online discussions, magazine distribution to inform hard-to-reach communities on peacebuilding, or the distribution of relief packages for communities displaced by violent extremism as a way of strengthening their resilience. These activities are coupled with capacity-building programs in the form of ‘Peace Camps’, and even grants competitions for small-scale youth organizations working to better their communities.