Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Insightful Quotes
"Young people need a perspective in their life to do something good in the world. The young are part of the solution and not the start of the problem."
Insightful Quotes
"The youth is not an empty vessel that is supposed to be filled."
Virtual Session 9

Only the Young – Youth Empowerment and the Prevention of Violent Extremism

Violent extremism and radicalisation are one of the main global challenges. Young people are particularly vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment while also becoming increasingly active in peacebuilding. The session offered young people a space to exchange encountered challenges in preventing violent extremism and ideas to solve them. Speakers included a former Neo-Nazi from Germany, youth activists from Kenya and the Philippines and a keynote input from a survivor of an Al-Shabab attack.

Main Questions
  • What are the similarities and communalities between the different experiences of the young peacebuilders in their different contexts in the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya and Germany?

  • What is the role of the youth and young adults in the prevention of violent extremism and the peacebuilding field?

  • What is your [the young panellists] call to action you would like to address to policy- and decision-makers?

Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
  • Youth are agents of change in their communities, on the local, regional, national and international level

Focus on the similarities and possible differences between the different experiences of the young peacebuilders in their respective contexts in the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya and Germany:

  • Push and pull factors for radicalisation and recruitment: Are often very similar in the different contexts; i.e. grievances, unemployment, lack of perspective, lack of identity and feeling of belonging

  • Religion and ideology as a double-edged sword: Both can either be used in prevention and peacebuilding work but also as driver for young people to join violent extremist groups

Call to policy- and decision-makers:

  • Be bolder and more courageous to offer the youth a safe space for dialogue and for personal and professional development

  • Provide resources in the form of funding for grass-roots movements and initiatives; provide materials and documents to inform the youth on violent extremist groups’ strategies and motivations

  • Take young people seriously; listen to them, support them in re-building (democratic) structures and do not tokenise youth for projects


Christian Ernst Weißgerber
Political Educator, Author, Musician, Freelancer
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Fatima Star U. Lamalan
Salaam Movement of the Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines
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Imrana Alhaji Buba
Youth Coalition Against Terrorism, Nigeria
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Mary Mwachiti
Lonamac, Kenya
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Dr. Jennifer Philippa Eggert
Senior Research Associate at the Joint Learning Initiative for Faith and Local Communities (JLI) and Researcher at the University of Warwick
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Current Topics

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The FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum is a series of events on current and overarching challenges and trends in peacebuilding. With the Peacebuilding Forum, we want to provide future-oriented impulses for the development of peacebuilding and strengthen the visibility and importance of the policy field in its entirety.


Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden
und Entwicklung (FriEnt)
c/o GIZ

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53113 Bonn

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