Supporting Youth and Children affected by Violent Extremism in Tunisia
Hedayah is a world leader in supporting rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. We have already trained around 100 educators, screening practitioners working in detention centers and community-based rehabilitation centers, psychologists and social workers.
In the past decade, political turmoil in Tunisia has opened the door for violent extremist groups to target young people through various incitement and indoctrination methods. There are many push and pull factors that drive the radicalization of young people, including a lack of employment, limited support and public services. The COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating the situation, with youth unemployment soaring to around 40%. Violent extremist groups are also exploiting fake news and disinformation in their propaganda campaigns.
The Government of Tunisia has estimated that around 3,000 Tunisians have left to join terrorist groups abroad, 600 of which have returned to Tunisia and 800 have been killed whilst fighting. Many women and children born to ISIS fighters have been unable to return to Tunisia. They remain stuck in Syrian and Iraqi refugee camps, where they are susceptible to recruitment and radicalization. This is a grave situation, but Hedayah is a leader in supporting youth affected by radicalization and is working in Tunisia to address the drivers of violent extremism.
Hedayah has already trained around 100 practitioners, including educators, screening practitioners working in detention centers and community-based rehabilitation centers, psychologists and social workers. We are supporting practitioners working on both prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. This includes:
- Media and Information literacy: We ensure young people can critically assess information to increase resilience against terrorist propaganda.
- Safe spaces for dialogue: We are addressing the need for a more tolerant dialogue between young people and government authorities. This provides an opportunity to address grievances more constructively, which increases resilience against violent extremist recruiters.
- Social and emotional learning: We focus on developing a sense of belonging and identity in a context where violent extremist recruiters exploit the lack of a sense of identity for their propaganda.
- Interviewing skills and needs assessment: We provide practitioners with recommendations and techniques to engage young people and children and how to identify and meet their critical needs.
A photo essay from the rehabilitation and reintegration centers we work with in Tunisia.