The Kofi Annan Foundation, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, is expanding its youth-led activities in Uganda and Somalia to prevent violent extremism. The Foundation’s Extremely Together initiative, through its network of exceptional young leaders, aims to equip youth with the capacities to recognize extremist narratives and patterns and find adequate responses.
“This is the first step in Extremely Together’s strategy to scale up its work and deepen its in-country engagement.”
“Over the next 12 months, committed young people from different backgrounds in Somalia and Uganda will be equipped to lead training and to mobilise others to act for peace,” says Maud Roure, Head of the Promoting Youth Leadership Programme at the Kofi Annan Foundation. “This is the first step in Extremely Together’s strategy to scale up its work and deepen its in-country engagement. Learning from this experience in Somalia and Uganda, we will expand the youth networks into other countries.”
“Many of my peers are trapped in conditions of poverty, violence and a generally bleak outlook for their future,” says Hassan Ndugwa, Extremely Together Young Leader, based in Kampala, Uganda. “Extremist groups consider these fertile recruiting grounds. Our aim is to have youth leading concrete actions against violent extremism and to promote positive values through art, music, and theatre to resist the lure of these groups.”
In Uganda, young people in the districts of Kampala and Bugiri will be inducted in non-violent methods of addressing their grievances, for example, in peace clubs in secondary schools. They will be invited to reflect on their roles as citizens and agents for peace in their communities, as well as encouraged to devise strategies to address the challenges they face.
“Somalia’s population is overwhelmingly young and many social structures have broken down, making youth particularly vulnerable to becoming perpetrators and victims of violent extremism,” says Ilwad Elman, Extremely Together Young Leader, based in Mogadishu, Somalia. “Our work with young people derives much of its substance from the Extremely Together Guide on Countering Violent Extremism which proposes different approaches debunking the narrative of extremists.”
In Somalia, the project will focus on the three regions of Mogadishu, Baidoa and Galmudug. In particular, the trained youth will engage vulnerable young people, such as those living in camps for internally displaced persons and those who have renounced violence and wish to reintegrate into their communities.
About Extremely Together
Extremely Together are ten Young Leaders, all active in preventing and countering violent extremism in their communities and beyond. Together, they produced the world’s first guide, by young people for young people, on how to counter violent extremism your community. Based on this guide, they work to equip youth all over the world to prevent and counter violent extremism and establish a movement that stands for unity, dialogue and inclusion.