Bamako, Mali, 11-16 January 2020. 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.
A key focus of the project MERIT aims specifically at empowering and engaging youth in the promotion of alternatives to violence by enhancing conflict management and dialogue. Within this context, two training sessions have been organized in January 2020, gathering 30 participants from various regions of Mali.
The first three days of training focused on conflict management and prevention, with the final aim of preventing and countering violent extremism. The training provided participants with knowledge about the types and sources of conflicts, the attitudes that may be present in the conflict, tools for managing tensions and measures to prevent and overcome conflicts.
In the words of a participant: “We discussed about the conflicts and styles of conflict management. We are all called to intervene in this direction, because even within our families we are confronted with different kinds of conflicts and we must be able to bring solutions.”
The last three days focused on the development of political skills and spaces for political debate with the aim of providing participants with tools and techniques of lobbying and plea, as well as ideas for creating spaces for political dialogue in their community.
Malian youth play a vital role in the development and implementation of long-term solutions in preventing and countering violent extremism. The training and empowerment sessions organized by UNICRI and ICCT within the framework of the MERIT project contribute to reinforcing this new generation’s role as the main driver of positive change in society.
With over 15 years’ experience in the field of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), UNICRI’s works focuses on Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda, that is centred on promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies, free from crime and violence. Within this framework, UNICRI supports local communities and civil society organizations in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), working with vulnerable populations, particularly at-risk youth and youth affected by violent extremism, to strengthen P/CVE through communities’ empowerment and resilience.