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Critical Choices: Assessing the Effects of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths’ Propensity Towards Violence

Author: Mercy Corps
Publication Date: November 2016

Description: For far too long, evidence on “what works” has evaded practitioners working on violence reduction, particularly Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). While a vast literature exists on the drivers to violence and violent extremism, few rigorous evaluations have been done to figure out what works to prevent or reduce individuals from engaging in violence. Many existing strategies and programs are based on conventional wisdom or anecdotal information on what are perceived to be the drivers of violence. Among these, lack of equitable, quality education and political marginalization are often cited as drivers for youth joining violent groups. However to be able to effectively address the growing threat of political violence and violent extremism in fragile and conflict affected contexts, empirical research testing the impact of programs meant to reduce violence is needed.

To respond to this evidence gap, Mercy Corps carried out a rigorous mixed-methods impact evaluation of a youth-focused stability program in Somaliland, funded by USAID, known as the Somali Youth Leaders Initiative (SYLI). The research tested the impact of increasing access to formal education and civic engagement opportunities on youth participation in and support for political violence. Education, in particular, and engagement with civil society are prominent priorities in the Somali National Strategy and Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

To access the resource, please click here “Critical Choices: Assessing the Effects of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths’ Propensity Towards Violence.”


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