Violent extremism has become one of the major challenges to stability in fragile states, characterized by weak, non-inclusive institutions, and lack of economic opportunity. Youth are often perceived as particularly vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups. The U.S. Institute of Peace has funded several impact evaluations of peacebuilding interventions over the last few years, including two rigorous evaluations of Mercy Corps’ youth programming in Afghanistan and Somalia aimed at reducing support for armed opposition groups.
These evaluations employed innovative research approaches to carry out surveys in conflict-affected settings, helping us better understand youth attitudes and behaviors around violence and what can influence them. In particular, the discussion will tackle the potential for implementing these programs at scale and its potential effect on broader conflict dynamics in places like Afghanistan and Somalia.
Joseph Hewitt, moderator
Vice President of Policy, Learning, and Strategy, USIP
Director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, USIP
Program Officer, Youth, USIP
Abdullahi Boru Halakhe
Senior Officer Policy and Advocacy-Africa, International Rescue Committee
Senior Researcher, Mercy Corps