Women empowered to fight radicalization in Kenya

Women attending an anti-radicalization meeting in Mombasa at a past function. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa, KENYA: Several women civil society groups in five counties in the country with the help of UN-Women and the Japanese government, in partnership with Kenya’s National Cohesion Integration Commission (NCIC) are being empowered in ways to prevent radicalization and extremism among youths.

Women from Mandera, Wajir, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties are participating in a nine month project that seeks to fight and curb radicalization. The 5 counties are those more prone to insurgents’ attacks.

The objectives of the NCIC are to establish a database of women in civil society that are active in peace and security, and to provide a platform for sharing experiences and new knowledge in tackling the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism.

Chairperson of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Mombasa county, Ms. Afya Rama, said that women play a key role in countering and fighting radicalization among the youth.

“We need to talk to our children and advice them on what is good and bad. And when a child is radicalized, you will know who to give the information about it and how you will help to change the child.” She said.

For Ms. Kibibi Abdallah, director of education Mombasa County, she will use the information she gains through the project to empower girls and youths in school on the need to stay away from people who lure them to join terrorist groups.

According to NCIC’s vice chair, Irene Wanyoike a number of 175 women from civil society and other practitioners have been trained on countering radicalization and extremism in targeted counties.

“It’s a programme that we developed in the commission to see how women can come together and try to work to counter violence extremism. Our young women have been recruited to Somalia and other places, some have come back and what we expect to do is to bring a together a group of women so that they can exchange ideas on how counter violent extremism”. She said.

In September 2016, police shot dead three women dressed in black veils, after an attempted terror attack at a Central police station in Mombasa was foiled, but two police officers on duty were injured.