As a Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni, Extremely Together Young Leader Hassan Ndugwa was part of the Young African Leaders Initiative East Africa Regional Conference that brought together the 2015 fellows from East and Central Africa. The conference was held in Nairobi between 15-17th June 2016 and gathered 150 participants, including representation from Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Somali Land, Djibouti, Congo- Brazzaville and Central African Republic.
Hassan’s role in the conference was to facilitate a community of practice that related to youth radicalization and countering violent extremism. With fellows from other countries working on similar issues, development partners like USAID, representatives from government and civil society, we were able to discuss the problems of violent extremism and youth radicalization in the region, globally and our specific countries and suggested measures to mitigate the problem as well as areas of collaboration.
Hassan says, “As a representative of my organization and Extremely Together, I highlighted the role of the 10 young global advocates for CVE who are working tirelessly to push back and delegitimize the extremist ideology in their communities and at the global stage through a multi-pronged communication strategy that combines all forms of media. I also mentioned to the participants that Extremely Together focuses on young people because they are the primary targets of extremist recruitment as they seek for better lives and adventure and that it’s their peers to lure them out since they speak the same language using the same channels.”
The participants of the conference agreed to work together to strengthen resistance and resilience towards violent extremism by creating communication platforms to reach out to young people on the verge of joining extremist groups, using platforms to young people to push back, and Hassan highlighted Extremely Together’s Facebook page and Twitter account as a forum for that, as well as mentioning the forthcoming collaborative toolkit that will share knowledge, skills and best practices and help build youth capacity to counter extremism of all kinds.