CPAU engaged Jawzjan’sLocal Community and Youth in a Two-Day Conference and Workshop on the Role of Women and Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism
The conference organized by CPAU in Jawzjan Province on April 12-13, 2016on “The Role of Women and Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” was part of CPAU’s wider CVE efforts and has been perceived as a great success for extending the participant’s knowledge and for raising overall awareness on the topic. It has also been acknowledged for being effective and beneficial for eliminating prejudices and ethnic, religious or gender discrimination.
Especially in Afghanistan – with one of the world’s youngest populations – youth are the primary target group for violent extremist recruiters. This means that young men and women need to build resilience against radicalization tendencies and therefore play an important role in CVE.
The main results gathered from the speeches and the group works include the responsibility of the government and society to offer possibilities for the youth to translate their energy and striving for purpose and meaning into positive actions. Perceived injustice based on a lack of opportunities, nepotism and corruption has been identified as a main driver for youth radicalization. In this context, the important role of the family to thwart frustration which might lead to extremism has become evident. Especially women as community builders and primary sources for education for their children have a vital role for building resilience within their families and for identifying early warnings. Therefore, it became evident that women need to be educated and respected as equal members of society. During the workshops, it has been furthermore highlighted to respect the family as starting point for countering radicalization and that the youth as motor for societal development need to be provided with a voice and platform. Regular youth gatherings, support by media outlets, and guidance by religious scholars and teachers have been mentioned as tools in the fight against violent extremism. It has also been highlighted that the gap between the government and the people has to be bridged and injustice needs to be eliminated.
In this sense, the conference succeeded in giving participants the tools and opportunities to become leaders and advocates in the promotion of positive social change and to take on a more active role in proactively shaping Afghanistan’s future while also promoting gender equality and a moderate religious perspective in countering violent extremism.