Somali Voices

Somali Voices: Building resilience and countering al-Shabab and other violent extremist groups' narratives and messages in Kenya and surrounding countries. 2018-present

A Project of

Supporting youth peace ambassadors to counter violent extremist narratives

Launched in December 2018, the Somali Voices project is aimed at increasing the resilience of Somali-speaking communities in Kenya and surrounding countries to the influence on translational criminal and violent extremist movements, with an emphasis on strengthening local capacity to counter al-Shabaab’s recruitment efforts and shifting attitudes related to violence.

By identifying, training, and facilitating credible, influential voices, EAI is developing an ecosystem of leaders in religious, cultural, civil society, media, and business communities that have the tools, networks, and information to create powerful alternative narratives and pathways for young people and vulnerable communities.

Focusing on Somali populations in Nairobi County and Wajir and Garissa counties in the northeast of Kenya, the program builds the capacities of key local influencers including youth, elders, religious leaders, and women leaders to build community resilience to violent extremist messaging and design innovating messaging and community mobilization campaigns.

Youth-generated and -focused content is disseminated via social media, an online hub, and radio. The Somali Voices team has created and developed a transmedia network and alternative messaging approach that disseminates narratives that support peace, inclusion, and youth empowerment.

In addition to creating and disseminating original media content, EAI supports and empowers young influencers, building their capacity through Tech Camps and resourcing their community-based initiatives through Peace Promotion Fellowships.

To date, EAI has held Tech Camps for 75 Kenyan-Somali youth, 20 of whom have gone on to become Peace Promotion Fellows. Through ongoing mentorship and capacity building, our Peace Fellows actively participate through online and offline spaces to assert their voices against their peers joining violent extremist organizations.

To learn more about Somali Voices, follow EAI East Africa on Facebook. See how our staff and partners are engaging local populations to think differently about difficult topics including ethnic and tribal conflict, early marriage, youth unemployment, and public security.

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