When violent conflict erupts, its roots often must be found and healed at the community level. Amid such turmoil, however, government officials, police, and community leaders are likely to mistrust each other—a breakdown in relations that opens space for security threats, including violent extremism and organized crime.
Drawing on a wide range of cases, including Burma, Colombia, Senegal, and Uganda, this Peace Brief discusses the internal cohesion of nonstate armed groups, explains how weak cohesion can undermine a peace process, and offers various strategies that those supporting peace processes can deploy to mitigate such risks.
A seaside suburb of Dakar, Senegal’s capital, Guédiawaye boasts a new coastal highway, large stadiums for wrestling and soccer, and new urban parks that even have marshes to manage periodic flooding. By all appearances, it is a growing, productive community. Yet underneath, the city struggles with high crime rates, environmental degradation, extreme poverty, unemployment and a disturbing growth in the number of suspected extremists.
USIP’s Women Preventing Violent Extremism (WPVE) program aims to shape national policies and community approaches to countering violent extremism in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. USIP does this by empowering women-led organizations and building local capacity that fosters collaboration between community-level activists and national-level policymakers.
In countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, USIP has pioneered a method to bring state officials, community leaders and citizens together to work out the roots of their problems and cooperatively rebuild security.