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Evaluation of a pilot project on countering violent extremism in the regions of Maghreb and Sahel - Preliminary Findings - September 2019

In order to identify the root causes of radicalisation and violent extremism, and establish what kind of interventions are more effective in building the resilience of a community towards the appeal of resolving grievances by violent means, UNICRI launched a comprehensive multi-year effort in nine countries of the regions of Maghreb and Sahel in 2015. Following an intensive period of implementation, UNICRI has initiated an evaluation of the projects implemented by 83 organisations in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.

UNICRI’s role in these projects has been to gather and organise data; evaluate the interventions’ relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, prospects for sustainability, visibility and encountered challenges; as well as identify elements that have the potential to make the communities and persons less vulnerable to violent extremism. With one third of the evaluation analysis completed, the preliminary findings can already be shared to stimulate discussion and help UNICRI enrich its evaluation methodology while sharpening the projects’ focus and effectiveness. In particular, this report provides information on the difficulties and grievances of populations living in selected, marginalised areas of the nine above mentioned countries and recommends some general approaches to adopt in implementing projects with similar objectives. When it comes to grievances, as this report also suggests, they are always complex in nature and can be informed by political reasons as much as by social, economic, security or psychological frustrations.

This preliminary report contains an extensive list of grievances, without necessarily determining their prevalence in any given geographical area. Overall, the reported difficulties and grievances can be grouped in four major policy areas: governance, education, economy and security sector. In this Report, UNICRI has identified elements that can boost the ability of community members to deal with radicalisation tendencies. It concludes with recommendations that we expect will contribute to an essential dialogue on improved ways to fight against violent extremism and terrorism, both in the Sahel and Maghreb regions and beyond.

Version available in French