On 22 March 2017, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) in collaboration with AWAPSA organized a one-day regional meeting of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) working group in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and share country National Action Plans on CVE strategies while deliberating on lessons learned from colleagues from Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya with a view to preventing violent extremism by promoting peace, equality and pluralism.
- Kenya, Nigeria, and Somalia all have various drafts of PVE NAPs. Sudan has nothing to date.
- Kenya and Nigeria: Each has a coordinating body that is the focal point for all CVE work in the country. In Kenya, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) is located within the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government. In Nigeria, the Working Group on Policy Framework & NAP for PVE/CVE, composed of 70 diverse stakeholders, is within the Ministry of Defense in the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and has been instrumental in the ongoing process to develop the National PCVE Policy and Action Plan (NAPPAP). In both countries, these groups act as the coordinating bodies for CSOs working on PVE/CVE and ensure that all activities undertaken in the name of countering violent extremism by NGOs are being done in consulting with or informing the government in advance.
- Somalia: The government has created a strategy to combat VE which is undergoing a 2nd revision and is expected to be released in June 2017. Civil Society organizations were not consulted in the development of this strategy.
- Somalia: Other obstacles faced by CSOs in Somalia working on PVE/CVE agenda are: (1) they must maintain a very low profile, for fear of retribution by Al Shabaab; (2) the lack of access to information (all information they get is from the international community); and (3) in order to discuss anything related to VE, they must first approach the AU task force on CVE.
- Sudan: The efforts to counter VE have been minimal. There have been no movements to date by the government to develop a NAP. Civil society is also very limited in their ability to work openly as they face backlash from the government, including threats of closing down CSOs working on PVE.
- Agreement that the spirit of the NAP process is commendable and that they may provide an opportunity for clarity on the relationship between the different stakeholders in countering violent extremism.
- Disconnect exists between the policy level/decision makers and more advanced CSO’s versus grassroots organizations, which get lost in the middle. A NAP is a good place to lay out how CSOs are meant to interact with their governments.
- Unanimous consensus that the role of women and youth is missing from all current NAPs, and efforts must be made to ensure a gendered perspective is incorporated into all processes going forward.
- Group agreed on the need for this type of regional coalition and discussed inclusion of other countries, as well as other entities (e.g., EACSOF, Great Lakes Region, etc.).
- Identified objectives for the group: serve as platform for reviewing current policies relating to VE to identify gaps and work towards more unified policies; strengthen institutions to prevent VE; share experiences, best practices, information sharing; develop a regional CVE strategy that is inclusive and gendered; review implementation of NAPs from a gender perspective.