How do we measure and/or assess the impact of PCVE programs and projects in our communities? Do we use the number of recruits or defectors of terrorist groups to measure our impact or do we measure PVCE awareness in the community?
Terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism have marred society for many years now. Its complex nature makes it difficult to assess or measure its impact for practitioners developing programs to counter this growing threat. Various PCVE interventions have been established with different approaches to suit the environments they work in. For instance, Lenga Ugaidi Na Talanta (LUNT) emphasizes the importance of youth using talents and art as tools to fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The use of arts and talents gives the youth a platform to express their emotions and challenges creatively as well as create awareness among peers.
This initiative speaks to a specific target audience who are targeted by violent extremist groups for radicalization and recruitment into groups. The impact and success of such an initiative remains difficult to measure because of the different interpretations of terrorism and violent extremism in different regions. This makes it more complex to come up with tools to measure the impact of the initiative.
Violent extremism is a complex and multi-faceted field that calls for tailor-made approaches to address it. Its existence and nature needs practitioners to share lessons on what works and what does not work for different communities in order to develop a more holistic and well-informed approach. Epuka Ugaidi as an organization has been able to custom-make effective programs to address, counter and prevent the threat among the youth, women and next generation. These programs work with communities at the grassroots levels that are at risk of exposure to violent extremism and radicalization. The use of a multifaceted approach has created community awareness of programs and projects introduced to the community.
Community awareness and mobilization are vital tools in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. This said, PCVE practitioners need to capitalize into partnerships with communities to understand the needs and the most impactful tool to apply in the community.