Violent Extremism: UNDP engages stakeholders for effective coordination

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has engaged key stakeholders to share knowledge and exchange experiences on the Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) projects undertaken by various organizations.

The UNDP is implementing a three-year regional project titled ‘Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in the Atlantic Corridor’ with the objective to prevent and address immediate catalysts of radicalization which could lead to violent extremism at the local level.

The two-day stakeholder engagement, held in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Regional capital, brought together officials from the Peace Council, Government and Non-Governmental Organizations among other stakeholders across Northern Ghana.

Ms Melody Azinim, UNDP’s Peace and Governance Analyst, in an interview with journalists on the first day of the workshop, called for strong partnership among stakeholders to prevent any possible violent extremists attack in Ghana.

She said it was important for stakeholders on the various PVE project
s to collaborate, share information and create synergies for effective coordination to check any possible violent extremists’ attacks.

Ms Azinim noted that there were a number of partners that worked in the area of PVE, and that it was important for the UNDP to align and leverage on what other stakeholders were already doing in the field.

She said, for the UNDP to have meaningful impact on the ground, ‘We thought that it was important to know the stakeholders, especially other development partners so that we can understand what is already ongoing’.

The Peace and Governance Analyst said even though Ghana had not experienced any such attack, news from neighbouring countries with experiences of violent extremists’ attacks were unpleasant.

‘People are losing their lives and property. They are displaced. So, it is important that we work together to strengthen capacities and to also deal with vulnerabilities, so we do not get to experience that as well.

‘So, for UNDP, prevention has been one of the key areas;
not waiting for it to happen before we respond. And our partners like Denmark, Australia, Norway and Germany have also bought into this, and they believe that the prevention approach is important,’ she said.

Mr Ali Anankpieng, the Executive Secretary of the Upper East Regional Peace Council, outlined some activities including community engagements and sensitizations in selected Districts on the prevention of violent extremism in the Region.

He recalled that during one of such engagements at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District, a taxi driver urged the Council to engage Fulbes in their activities as the Fulbes believed they were not loved, and if that was the case, they could gradually be influenced by violent extremists.

Mr Anankpieng acknowledged the contributions of UNDP in the Council’s activities saying ‘As far as PVE is concerned, it is UNDP that introduced us to it. So, we are very grateful to them’.

He added that one of the strategies UNDP used in the prevention of violent extremism was radio
engagements in the communities, and that the initiative enabled the Council to reach out to several people within the targeted communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency