Effects of Community Interventions on Youth Deradicalization in Mandera County, Kenya
Issack, Katra Idris Maalim
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There is scarcity of empirical literature on how the community practices such as life skill training, mentoring, sport events and career sponsorship have contributed to de-radicalization among the youth in the counties. Kenya is facing a significant challenge in dealing with victims of radicalization coupled with the fight against Al-Shabaab in the country and in Somalia. This highlights the need for an in-depth research that attempts to understand the implications of the interventions and how they can be improved or establish alternative measures to guarantee de-radicalization in the counties and eventually across the country. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of community interventions on youth de-radicalization in Mandera County, Kenya. The objectives were to explore the effect of life skills training on youth de-radicalization in Mandera County, to investigate the effect of mentoring on youth de-radicalization in Mandera County, to evaluate the effect of sport events on youth de-radicalization in Mandera County and to establish the effect of career sponsorship on youth de-radicalization in Mandera County. The Social learning theory and change theory underpinned the study variables. Data was collected from from experts in counter-violent extremism, elders, administrators, religious leaders and youths from Mandera County. A total of 252 respondents from these groups were targeted. A sample of 154 respondents was selected for issuance of questionnaire and 36 CVE experts were interviewed. Secondary data was also obtained from county reports and credible internet sources. Exploratory design was used. Qualitative data was analyed by use of content analysis. Quantitative data was analysed through the use of descriptive analysis methods such as the use of mean, standard deviation, frequencies and percentages. Data was presented in tables and figures.The study established that excessive use of force to islamic community, lack of social and financial support, lack of education, poverty and unemployment were the major contributors of youth radicalization in Mandera County. The life skills training measures; personal capacity, participating in vocational training and designed violence prevention program by the government have not led to counter-productive outcomes that have improved the fight against terrorism in Kenya. The study results presents that the government has initiated mentorship programs in Mandera County to make an effort to raise the de-radicalization. Mentorship programs were found to be less effective in sustaining youth de-radicalization in Mandera. The findings indicated that sports events had a huge positive impact on youth de-radicalization. The youth sport events have resulted to behaviour change, the number of youths participating in the organised sport events have increased over time and that the sports objectives is to nature talent and reduce the radicalization possibilities. There has been increase in sponsorship by well-wishers to the youth to increase skill development and there is need to increase the number of sponsorship training to develop skills in Mandera County. Life skills training, mentorship, sport events and career sponsorship have positive and significant effect on youth de-radicalization. A multi-faceted approach to counter-terrorism initiatives needs to be established, especially in the area of counter-radicalization. The development policy and socio-psychological methods to fight radicalization need to be applied by the Kenyan government in this situation. The government should pursue genuine political reforms through consultation with communities, with the goal of establishing socio-economic and political structures with which people can recognize radicalizations and the issues emerging from them.