As part of their joint Framework Programme for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (2020-2023) the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism ( ACSRT/CAERT) of the African Union and the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (PHRD/FDFA) organised the “First Senior Level Regional Course for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) in West Africa Region” at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana, in response to requests submitted by the authorities of several countries in the region. This First PVE Course for West Africa was organised with the support of the Human Security Research Centre, Ghana (HSRCGh). Nigeria was represented at the training by SOs PCVE, ONSA, Mr. Dennis Ozioko, Mrs. Justina Amakor and SO Stratcomm, ONSA, Mr. Raphael Towoju respectively.
The main objective of the Course was to promote the preventive approach as a response to growing violent extremism activities in the West Africa region. While the enforcement measures only deal with the symptoms and the consequences of the violence as well as perpetrators, the preventative measures, instead, tackle the root causes of issue by trying to understand what motivate people to join violent extremist groups and what could lead them out, and to work at transforming the multiples and complex causes of violence. The Course, therefore, seeks to stimulate thinking on this preventative approach to violent extremism and to build participants’ capacities, and encourage them to consider what could be useful in their specific national and regional context. Through the presentation of various specific tools and sharing of concrete success stories, challenges and good practices, the Course’s programme was designed to take participants through a series of modules allowing them to better grasp what the drivers of Violent Extremism are (economic, political, social, and cultural factors) and the motivations to join Violent Extremist groups.
The Course gathered, during four (4) days, more than sixty (60), including more than twenty (20) female, Decision-makers or advisors at managerial level in the areas of defence, security, intelligence services, justice, social affairs, Parliament, elected local government officials, NGOs, civil society, research centres (public and private) and public/private institutions involved in the generation of responses violent extremism from all the fifteen (15) States of West Africa. In addition, PVE Experts from the region and beyond also participated in the course to support module facilitation, including partners of the ACSRT, Experts from the HSRCGh, and from the Initiative of Regional Conversations for PVE led by PHRD/FDFA.