26 July 2016, Ethiopia: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with the financial support from the Government of Japan and through its Offices of the Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) and the Somalia Facilitation Office (IGAD SFO) in Collaboration with the Federal Republic of Somalia Government have today launched a four days Training of Trainer (ToT) on countering radicalization and entrepreneurship skill to the Federal Republic of Somalia Youths.

The official opening ceremony of the training was presided by H.E. Sucaad AXmed Farax (Vice President of and Head of Agriculture and National Resource Bureau of the Ethiopian Somali Regional Administration), Amb. Tewolde Gebremesekel (IGAD Peace and Security Director), Commander Abebe Muluneh (IGAD SSP Director), Mr. Ibrahim Adam (Deputy Head of the Office of The Ethiopian Somali Regional Administration President), Mr. Abdullahi Yusuf Farah (Director of Public Relations of Ministry of Internal Security of the Federal Republic of Somalia), Abdullahi Abdi (Director of Youth at Ministry of Youth and Sport), and Faduma Abdi (Qarn) (Chairperson of Somali National Youth).

In his opening remark, Commander Abebe welcomed all participants and thanked the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Somali Regional Administration Region, the Republic of Somalia Government, the Government of Japan, and the staff of IGAD for their cooperation and facilitation of this important and timely training. He stressed that “the IGAD region faces a range of challenges, including persistent threats posed by transnational terrorist and other violent groups” and “these security challenges exacerbated by problems such as underdevelopment and unemployment potentially make the youth more vulnerable to empty promises of a better life and financial incentives offered by terrorist organization”. He urged that there should be an exerted effort for the development of alternative livelihood for the vulnerable groups such as youths both men and women that will eventually generate hope to the people of Somalia and address social, political and economic injustice and grievances. Amb. Tewolde emphasized the critical role the youth play in countering violent extremism. He further said that military means are not sufficient in tackling extremism but rather through an added effort focusing on the protection of youth from falling into the hands of extremist groups as well as by increasing the participation of youth in various community and development efforts to attract and integrate more defectors from these groups.

The session was attended by 51 (11 female and 40 male) youths from the Ministry of youth and sport, Somalia National Youth of the five regional states of Somalia, i.e., Puntland, Jubaland, SouthWest, Galmudug and Banadir.

This four days training of trainers’ workshop aims to support the efforts of the Federal Republic of Somalia Government towards the fight against radicalization and countering terrorism from the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. It is designed for civilian youths both male and female to countering radical narratives that familiarize the dangers of religious extremism and lead them to an entrepreneurial skill. During the course of the training, regional experts will discuss the following topics in the form of interactive discussions, table top exercises, and site visits.

  • A Historical perspective of Political Islam and its implications on violent extremism in the Horn of Africa region
  • Conceptualization of the trend and pattern of radicalization in Somalia (Violent extremism, Islam and terror, Symptom of extremism/ radicals)
  • Conceptualization of the trend and pattern of radicalization in Somalia (Causes of radicalization, process of extremism, contrasting between different regions and districts in Somalia and Ethiopian best practice)
  • Preventing and countering the radicalization in the context of Somalia (De-radicalization, Disengagement and their similarities and differences)
  • “Role of the various stakeholders in de-radicalization (government political, social and security institutions, youth, women, prominent clan leaders and religious figures) ”
  • Ethiopian Somali Region best practices on (former Al Itihad militias, ONLF militias, have they been de-radicalized or disengaged?)
  • An in-depth discussion on the Federal Republic of Somalia Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) strategy.
  • De-radicalization programs in Ethiopian Somali Region (discussion and analysis on security sector activities, community policing programs, Role of Ethiopian Somali youth leaders)
  • Business and entrepreneurship skill site visiting (small scale business, vocational school and job creating facilities)
  • Practical Exercise on how to counter radicalization and disengagement and reintegration of youths both male and female in the Federal Republic of Somalia and regional administration. Concrete and Practical Good Practices Drawn from the training of trainers workshop with realistic recommendations

At the end of the training, a way forward will be charted out and participants will receive certification. (END)