ISD has been delivering projects to counter extremism, hate and disinformation in East Africa since 2015
ISD has been supporting Kenyan initiatives for preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) since 2015 through the Strong Cities Network (SCN), Young Cities and PROACT – a community based intervention program that commenced in October 2019.
Campaign research, training, and deployment during the 2017 Kenya elections
Following a successful CVE Lab held for over 120 sub-Sahara African participants in 2015, ISD led a ground-breaking study of extremist messaging and recruitment before and during the 2017 Kenya presidential elections. In collaboration with Google, ISD conducted the Africa Social Impact Summit in Nairobi in early 2018, followed by counternarrative workshops for over 60 organisations. ISD worked with over 20 of these organisations to target online campaigns tackling religious bigotry, gender violence, Al Shabaab/ISIS/Al Qaeda recruitment, and electoral violence, reaching over 4.6million Kenyans on Facebook. Findings from the project were released in the ISD publication Between Two Extremes: Responding to Islamist and tribalist messaging online in Kenya during the 2017 elections.
Strong Cities Network and PROACT programmes
ISD's Strong Cities Network and PROACT programmes operate in Kenya to deliver training and development activities such as projects working at the grassroots level with women, faith leaders and young people. Our work here served to support Kenyan municipal governments in equip government officials and civil society with the tools and know-how to collaboratively stem hate, polarisation and extremism. We additionally support and strengthen existing local structures and strategies such as County Action Plans (CAO) so as to build capacities and capabilities to design and deliver community-based interventions. This work is currently being delivered in three Kenyan counties - Kwale, Nakuru and Isiolo.
ISD's Young Cities programme works in Kenya to train youth activists in campaign development and management (learning best practices, collaborate and create new, innovative projects). Through their initiatives, participating young people reached over 1 million people online and 1,000 offline, engaging their communities on some of the most pressing challenges facing youth, such as fractured youth-police relations, youth radicalisation and the role of parental support, stereotyping of refugees, hate speech online, and questions of identity and belonging.
Following the delivery of a Young Cities Innovation Lab in Kenya in 2020, the team supported five youth-led initiatives in Mombasa and Kwale. Most recent activities include a series of awareness-raising workshops tackling gang recruitment with youth and mothers; activities increasing youth civic engagement in local government processes in some of the most disenfranchised parts of Kwale; and an online campaign promoting more positive youth-police relations. In partnership with the County Government of Mombasa, Young Cities has also supported a series of engagement forums which led to the inclusion of youth voices into the county’s new resilience policy, to support involvement of youth in local policy-making processes.
Africa Online Safety Fund
Since May 2020, ISD has been supporting Google.org and Impact Amplifier, a South African organisation that provides advisory services and investment readiness support to entrepreneurs and social enterprises, with the Africa Online Safety Fund. This is a $700,000 fund for projects that seek to address online safety issues across Africa, focusing especially on South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Cote D’Ivoire.
ISD has conducted research and analysis on the region, as well as digital research on Al Shabab online ecosystems in East Africa. This was recently presented to the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), National Steering Committee on Peacebuilding and Conflict Management (NSC), State Department and leading national and county stakeholders.
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The ISD Kenya team
Executive Director; Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA)
Executive Director; Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA)Follow @MoustafaAyad
Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach
Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & OutreachFollow @zahed
Head of Capacity Building and Campaigns
Head of Capacity Building and CampaignsFollow @@KrBjorn
Head of Strong Cities Network International Programmes
Head of Strong Cities Network International ProgrammesFollow @@djehooton
Senior Grants Manager
Senior Grants Manager