Countering violent extremism through the development of counter-discourse and alternative narratives
Within the framework of the project Mali (Dis-)Engagement and Re-Integration related to Terrorism (- MERIT), UNICRI and the International Center for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT-The Hague), in close collaboration with Think Peace Sahel, Conseil National de la Jeunesse, International Alert, and SNV-ICCO-OXFAM, have developed a set of engagement and empowerment training sessions addressed to young people to promote alternatives to violence.
From 28 to 30 October 2019, twenty-six young Malian leaders from various regions of the Country have gathered in Bamako to attend the training on "Developing counter-discourse and alternative narratives."
The training, conducted in collaboration with Search for Common Ground and Think Peace Sahel, included both theoretical and practical sessions and provided the participants with basic skills to develop alternative narratives to violence, with a specific focus on countering the propaganda and ideology of violent extremist/terrorist groups. In particular, the training focused on analyzing the key drivers and elements of conflict and violence. It provided participants with in-depth knowledge on aspects, approaches and processes for developing positive communication, self-awareness, knowledge of the others and recognition, trust, dialogue and sharing of experiences, and negotiation and mediation skills.
The training gave particular emphasis to a common identity-based approach to influence the discussion, and overcome and reconcile frictions and contradictions. Furthermore, the participants were trained on techniques to enhance their speaking skills as well as their knowledge of key elements for effective narratives.
The skills and tools acquired by the participants will be furthered strengthened on the occasion of a second training on "Developing counter-discourse and alternative narratives", to be held in December 2019.