Countering Violent Extremism In Lamu County
This study sought to analyse the fear factor in government messaging of oral narratives amongst local community residents in Lamu County meant to Counter Violent Extremism. The main objective of the study was to analyse the fear factor in messaging and oral narratives in Countering Violent Extremism in Lamu County.To address this question, the study integrated two theories; the Protection Motivation Theory of Rogers which was used in this study to answer the question on whether the fear factor aids in Countering Violent Extremism or not, while the Social Movement Theory explained why people form or join social movements, in this case, why some residents, specifically young people in Lamu County join terror groups making it more difficult to get full community support in Counter Violent Extremism messaging and in addressing grievances passed on in oral narratives amongst residents. Data was collected through Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews. The Focus Group Discussions comprised of youth aged between 15 and 29 and who belong to a youth group that had been targeted, at least once (and therefore are aware of Counter Violent Extremism), by either the government or Non-Governmental Organisations promoting Counter Violent Extremism messages. The sampling frame for the Focus Groups was a list of youth in the youth groups purposively sampled for this study. Key Informants included chiefs, clan leaders, religious leaders, government security agents and school administrators. The data was transcribed, translated into English (for interviewees who spoke in Swahili), presented, interpreted and analysed under each objective. The information collected was thematically organized. To ensure ethical consideration in the writing of the research, interviewees were coded to conceal their names and locations. Findings show that while the government is committed to ensuring protection of its citizens from terror attacks, its own communication strategy generated fear that hindered acceptance and therefore collaboration from the local community. Results from both the Focus Group Discussions and the Key Informant Interviews confirmed that the messaging and oral narratives contained fear in the way they are constructed which contributed to the continued passing of community narratives of victimisation, intimidation and betrayal that they hold against security actors and the Counter Violent Extremism approaches. This study therefore recommends that message choices and content on Counter Violent Extremism should focus on using more inclusive and beneficiary-friendly language.
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