IGAD ENGAGES KENYA’S NATIONAL YOUTH AGAINST ORGANIZED VIOLENCE, COUNTERTERRORISM AND TRANSNATIONAL SECURITY THREATS

(Mombasa, Kenya) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Security Sector Program (ISSP) yesterday concluded a three-day training workshop in Mombasa, Kenya with the theme Youth Engagement in Preventing Terrorism and Related Transnational Security Threats for Kenya. The training was held with the aim to empower the youth’s and nurture the potential to create tangible space for them as actors in the National Strategy on counterterrorism, against radicalization, and related transnational security threats.

The opening was officiated by Hon Siraj Fegessa, Director of the Peace and Security Division at IGAD accompanied by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), and Mr. Philip Githiora Mundia, Deputy Director of Peace and Security Directorate and Director of CT Unit at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya.

Hon. Fegessa urged Kenya and all other member states to further engage and empower the youth considering this avenue as a unique and invaluable opportunity in preventing acts of terrorism and related transnational security challenges, all of which are persistently exposing the youth to greater risks. He noted that the youth constitutes more than half of the population of our Member States including Kenya.

He noted that these types of transnational security threats have continuously jeopardized the political, social, cultural and economic landscape of the IGAD region and beyond particularly because they target the youth as recruiters, recruits, actors and victims at various levels; yet the youth also have the potential and the energy to prevent these types of violence and could, if well engaged and empowered, play positive transformative roles. He also expressed his appreciation to the Government of Kenya for hosting the workshop, and sending its representatives

The three-day workshop covered key thematic areas such as; Transnational Security Threats in the IGAD regions; Role of the youth in countering and preventing acts of terrorism and other TSTs; The Process of Radicalization; policies around counterterrorism and related TSTs; Principles of Young Peoples Participation in Peace-Building; Kenya’s National Action Plan on TSTs – with participants engaging in what is indicated in their respective county action.

The training which was conducted in collaboration with the Global Peace Foundation-Kenya, an institution with the expertise and a track record in providing such training on Online Safety and Prevention of Violent Extremism in conjunction with partners such as Google.

The closing remarks were delivered by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP who reminded the participants that the youth remains a priority for IGAD and its member states hence will continue to engage and empower the youth by collaborating with all stakeholders and partners in addressing and mitigating the issue of radicalization and counter terrorism. Mr. Philip Githiora Mundia who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya officially closed the workshop and thanked IGAD and all the participants for their active participation.

The training brought together over 25 Kenyans, of which 15 were women, representing CBOs, NGOs, and CSOs in diverse areas of the country including North Eastern part of Kenya and Mombasa County which is, reportedly, vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment to extremist groups. Other representatives were from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The training workshop was funded by the European Union through the IPPSHAR Programme, managed by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

BACKGROUND

The overall goal of IGAD Security Sector Program is to promote and strengthen regional and national capacities to better predict, prevent and counter transnational security threats (TSTs) and thereby contribute to regional peace and stability, and foster enabling environment for regional integration and development of the sub-region. Therefore, IGAD SSP strives to enhance regional cooperation and coordination and capacity building measures to address the challenges of TSTs and promote and support the on-going development of security sector in most of IGAD Member States.

Source: Inter Governmental Authority on Development