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The Women Preventing Extremist Violence (WPEV) is a pilot project of the USIP’s Gender and Peacebuilding team designed to increase women’s agency, influence and engagement in strengthening community level resilience to violent extremism. Through a training program and facilitated dialogues, USIP’s staff works with in-country partners to bring together representatives of women civil society and the security sector in an exploration of the local drivers of violent extremism, and potential strategies for prevention and improved collaboration. 

International Women's Day 2008 in Korgnegane, Bougouriba Province in the Burkina Faso
Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons/Hugues

The WPEV project is currently being piloted in Nigeria and Kenya. A first series of workshops brought together a dozen women leaders of civil society organizations. A second series of dialogues sought to foster trust and communication between civil society and representatives of the police. The WPEV project culminated with an international symposium in March 2015 that highlighted the work of women civil society leaders from India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tanzania, who presented their lessons learned and innovative ways to engage women in preventing extremist violence at the community level.

coverThe Thought for Action Kit

A collection of experts’ essays and exercises, designed to help guide activists and practitioners to engage in reflection and dialogue on violent extremism. 

Events

Women and Countering Violent Extremism Strengthening Policy Responses and Ensuring Inclusivity

In July 2015, experts from civil society, the United Nations, academia, and the U.S. government discussed ways to include women in efforts to counter violent extremism. The debate directly informed U.S. government officials preparing for major international conferences on these issues in fall 2015.

Women Preventing Violent Extremism: Charting a New Course

In celebration of International Women's Day, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a meeting of 12 women civil society leaders from India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania on Friday, March 6.

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Afghan Women Defend Their Rights Against the Taliban

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Afghanistan’s Taliban, determined to capture a major city in the country, have advanced on Kunduz, in the northeast. The Taliban oppose any public role for women in Afghan society and have targeted women’s organizations in Kunduz. But a local journalist and mother, Sediqa Sherzai, for years has run Radio Roshani, a station that broadcasts programs for women’s rights and democracy.

Violent Extremism; Gender; Religion; Non-Violent Movements

Afghan Women Defy Taliban in a City on the Edge

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Kunduz once bustled as the cotton-mill capital of northeast Afghanistan. Amid Afghanistan’s 39-year-old war, it is now half-empty, fearful and bullet-pocked—a target in the Taliban’s fight to capture a major city. Remarkably, Kunduz also is a stronghold of Afghanistan’s women’s movement, including a handful of women-run radio stations. So when Taliban fighters briefly seized Kunduz in 2015 and attacked it again last year, they tried each time to kill Sediqa Sherzai, a journalist and mother who runs Radio Roshani.

Violent Extremism; Gender; Religion; Non-Violent Movements

In Pakistan, Women Combat Gender Violence through Art

In Pakistan, Women Combat Gender Violence through Art

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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In Pakistan, a series of vibrant murals has gone viral, inciting discussion, online and in city streets, about gender-based violence and discrimination. Young women artists changed the landscape of the country’s largest cities as they worked with communities to turn local people’s stories into art that claims public spaces for messages of tolerance and peace.

Violent Extremism; Gender; Non-Violent Movements

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