Responding to Violent Extremism through Peace, Media, and Technology: A Formative Research Report

In 2019, EAI completed a formative research that identified several recurring and intersecting themes relevant to countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts in Mindanao, Philippines.

A Project of
Philippines, Building Peace & Transforming Extremism


The rapid rise of violent extremism (VE) has been a top concern for governments and vulnerable communities around the world. In recent years, there have been increasing reports of young Muslims joining VE groups in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao in Southern Philippines.

This research is composed of two parts: 1) a formative research component, which was conducted during the third and fourth quarters of 2018, and 2) an extended survey, which used the participants of four training activities, two workshops, and 20 community-based Listening Discussion and Action Groups (LDAGs), conducted in 2019. Both components aim to assess existing VE influencers and networks, define target audiences including their demographics and methods of communication, understand target audience desires and pathways toward radicalization and empowerment, and characterize vulnerable populations. The research focused on identifying target vulnerable populations in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and key urban areas (Cagayan de Oro City, Cotabato, Davao City, Iligan City, Marawi City, and Zamboanga City).

The research identified several recurring and intersecting themes relevant to countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts. This analyzed those themes and their implications for CVE behavior change communication and radio programming. The research found out that there is a presence of recruiters of VE groups in their communities and schools, and there is no singular profile of individuals targeted for recruitment. In addition, key informants and FGD participants considered education an important component in CVE. The respondents also wanted to put an end to discrimination, see the conclusion of the peace processes with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), improve governance, and promote youth activities that could all reduce the risk of violent extremism.

Read more about the formative research, or download a copy here.