Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism – Phase II
The influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon added pressure to an already fragile socio-economic situation marred with political instability, intercommunity tensions, and coupled in some areas with sectarian divisions. This has had a profound impact on social cohesion and intercommunity relations. Feelings of insecurity on both sides are causing increased mobility restrictions on refugees and segregation between communities.
The project implemented by RET to prevent radicalization and violent extremism was accessible to all youth from 12 to 25 years old, from both displaced and host communities. RET focused specifically on the most vulnerable and marginalized youth, who were experiencing privation, violence, exclusion, or other forms of adversity. The project provided interventions across the Humanitarian – Development – Peace nexus focusing on:
- Humanitarian Aid: Responding to protection risks and improving coping mechanisms in fragile settings through Support Groups: Safe platforms/self-help Support Sessions, Psychosocial Support (PSS) & Referral to mental health/psychosocial support services.
- Peacebuilding: Strengthening the capacities of youth as agents of peace through Youth Community Leadership Trainings, Mixed Social, Cultural, Arts and Sports Community Peace Events, Youth Networks for Exchange and further Community Support Projects to ensure continued intercommunity and intergenerational dialogue.
- Sustainable Development intervention: Increasing youths’ life prospects and employability profiles through Self-Reliance Training to enhance (a) Technical Skills and (b) Literacy (computer, language, finance) skills.
The overall goal of the project was to enable youth from the refugee and host communities to stay away from harmful practices leading to radicalization and violent extremism, and instead to become agents of positive social change in their communities with a focus on intra- and inter-community tensions and conflict mitigation.
RET’s intervention in Lebanon is in line the “United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism” that stress the importance of (i) dialogue, (ii) engaging communities; (iii) empowering youth, congruent with (iv) skills development and employment facilitation (among other initiatives and measures), as a means for preventing conflict and countering extremism.
The two projects, implemented between November 2017 and December 2019, were funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, SO3 Division and implemented by RET in Lebanon.