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Ndugwa Hassan

31 May GCTF Event in Djibouti

31 May GCTF Event in Djibouti 

Ndugwa Hassan

Extremely Together was ably represented at the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) Horn of Africa Working Group Symposium on Youth and CVE and Fifth Plenary Meeting held on 31 May – 2 June 2016 in Djibouti City, Djibouti. Our Young Leader Hassan Ndugwa was privileged to be on the panel that aimed at discussing institutionalization of the role of youth in counter-radicalization and deradicalization efforts. The symposium brought together representatives of governments from the East and the Horn of Africa, donor agencies such as USAID, DfID, Turkey, US State Department and grassroots civil society actors in the field of CVE.

The session explored how youth have been engaged with their broader community to date, including with religious scholars, psychologists, community and business leaders, and how to institutionalize such engagement by developing youth councils.

Hassan says, “I shared my experiences on making mine and other youth voices heard and how youth can more systematically offer their input to youth-relevant, government-organized CVE programs.”

The session also focused on individuals who have been radicalized to violence and how their peers might play a role in helping to de-radicalize and reintegrate them.

In Hassan’s submission to how youth can play a role in de-radicalizing their peers, he highlighted Extremely Together’s three objectives of empowering, inspiring and engaging young people, advocating that young people need inspiration from peers who are involved in CVE efforts and those taking the right path to leading meaningful lives and can share their achievements and experiences such as the importance of education and critical thinking.

Hassan added that young people need to be empowered and engaged by peers using all forms of media (traditional and social media) and through mentoring to build critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for their well being, including developing the ability to question the legitimacy of violent means of resolving conflicts. Empowering government, civil society, university students and communities to develop CVE programs in their contexts is a key part of this vital work.

Hassan explains, “I further argued that Extremely Together is itself an alternative narrative, which seeks to provide young people with alternative stories of change, peace and progress in their own lives, and uses positive messages to inspire them to take positive action.”

Through group discussions, participants developed action points on how to engage youth in CVE and how to ensure the safety and protection of youth working towards CVE which included, creating a critical mass of young people in this field who can be Extremely Together, supporting each other, moving together and speaking together.