Karuna Center led an assessment of the capacity of government and civil society to counter violent extremism—using non-military means—in the West African Sahel. This was a foundational component of the ongoing USAID-funded Partnerships for Peace program.
About the Program
In the Sahel region of West Africa, violent extremism is spreading rapidly, causing an increasing number of civilian deaths, displacement, and hardship, and destabilizing entire regions. Extremist organizations such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb,and the Ansar al-Din-Macina Brigade have been gaining influence. The Partnerships for Peace project is a USAID-funded capacity-building and networking effort to support West African regional and national institutions and organizations to lead sustainable, long-term peacebuilding efforts to address the problem.
At the national level, Partnerships for Peace assists governments in developing national strategies for non-military approaches to countering violent extremism (CVE) and programs to serve communities at risk of being targeted by violent extremist organizations. The project also supports networks of West African peace advocates and practitioners, strengthening coordination among traditional and religious leaders, youth, and women’s groups to prevent and reduce extremist violence.
To support program planning, in 2016-17 Karuna Center performed an assessment of CVE capacity of government institutions and civil society organizations in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the G5 Sahel (a regional coordinating body formed by the governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). Karuna Center also supported training in CVE for government officials and civil society leaders in Burkina Faso.