In order to prevent future radicalisation and recruitment by violent extremists of these communities which have already proven vulnerable, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) began programming in Gounzoureye Commune in Gao in June 2014. Activities were guided by the following theory of change: if the social, political, economic marginalisation and isolation of communities in Gounzoureye Commune is reduced, then these communities will be less vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist organisations.
The USAID/OTI strategy included 1) responding to urgent needs in order to gain entry into the community and build trust (e.g., provision of potable water), 2) strengthening connections within and between communities in order to decrease marginalisation (e.g., intercommunity dialogues, intercommunal sport and cultural events), and 3) confronting extremist ideology head-on (e.g., reading and debate clubs, youth exchanges).
OTI delivered more than twenty small grants to enable this strategy. Illustrative projects include the establishment of a training and cultural facility for youth from Gounzoureye’s thirteen villages, development of a Malian youth CVE agenda, dissemination of local language media programming and support for the Government of Mali’s internal CVE Strategy.