Short stories to counter violent extremism

Education-based projects are crucial to enhance youth’s resilience to violent extremism, Zineb Benalla, director of the Transnational Initiative Countering Violent Extremism, told Devex in this video interview.

In Timbuktu and Gao, young people are reading short stories teaching morals of tolerance, justice and freedom.

Education-based projects are crucial to enhance youth’s resilience to violent extremism,

Zineb Benalla, director of the Transnational Initiative Countering Violent Extremism, told Devex in this video interview.

Benalla heads up the independent think tank — established in April 2015 in Casablanca, Morocco, to counter violent extremism and build peace — and spearheaded the effort to introduce education-based projects for youth resilience to violent extremism in Timbuktu, a city in the West African nation of Mali as well as Gao, located on the River Niger.

The Transnational Initiative Countering Violent Extremism embraces a participatory approach that involves community leaders, elders, women and youth, Benalla explained, adding that countering violent extremism initiatives can emanate from education, local and cross-border research, capacity building and people-to-people interaction.

Watch the video to find out how the behavior of project participants changed after five days, as well as why education efforts must be tailored to each specific village.

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.

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