United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

The DRR Project

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Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    The DRR Project aims to build peace, counter violent extremism, and empower youth development in Somalia through tackling issues of terrorist activities caused by Al-Shabaab, the most destructive Islamic extremist organization in Africa. Operating in the Mogadishu Central Prison, the project targets the incarcerated violent extremist organization members (mostly youths, youngest being 8 years old), as well as enhancing further defection against active members. Through the approach of DRR, the project will “De-radicalize” the target youths, “Re-insert” them back to the local communities, and oversee “Re-integration” through continuous support and communication.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    So far, 7 programs have been in place, with interviews and surveys from the target youths, and from other actors received in each program. A sum of $180,000 USD has been spent, conducted by 4 local and 3 Japanese staff. 1. Care counseling We give meaning to the target youths’ prison lives, by accepting their original issues they hold, and think together on what only they can do to solve it through peaceful measures. 2. Interactive Islamic seminar Most target youths have an altered radical view of the Quran. With the Islamic lecturer, we give discussion on themes such as reconciliation, sins, forgiveness, and peace based on the Quran. 3. High-expectation management session Re-radicalization may occur when the youths face unexpected setbacks. We implement sessions discussing possible obstacles and how to cope with it to minimize such risk. 4. Interactive reconciliation session We invite local community leaders and the target youths, and host interactive sessions to deepen their mutual understanding. 5. Skill training We provide training on various skill sets, from basic writing skills to technical training. In addition, we empower real-life skills by giving support on employment and building relationships with the local community. 6. Long-term follow-up At the time of the target youths’ release, we establish connections with their sureties, later continuing their counselling, monitoring, and giving support by consulting their businesses and investments. 7. Distribution of defection leaflets & hotlines In territories regained from Al-Shabaab, with the local government and the community, we distribute defection leaflets, and establish hotlines to respond to contacts from defectors and their families. (No.7 is HIGHLY confidential due to sensitivity against Al-Shabaab, so DO NOT PUBLISH)


    The DRR Project has had significant impacts on CVE and peacebuilding, with 195 target youths successfully deradicalized and reintegrated. In order to keep track of our progress, we document the target youths’ care counseling sheet which is filled out by them, conduct interviews upon their release, and assess their well-being through follow-up programs using an evaluation index created prior to implementation of the project. The project has been contributing to the SDGs by building peace in the region, by not only through deradicalizing the target youths, but also through creating an environment of reconciliation. Furthermore, we have had opportunities to speak in the UN congress, enabling us to further enhance the understanding of accepting people left behind. We have discovered that our approach as a whole, from ‘accepting’ the target youths to their long-term support, as well as their reconciliation with the locality, has been groundbreaking in the field of CVE.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Since the project is held in Somalia, where an ongoing conflict exists, the situation constantly changes (e.g. deterioration of the war, lockdown of prisons as a result of a prison break). In order to respond and adapt to these, we have worked flexibly, not being deterred by occurrence of such incidents. Furthermore, upon planning and managing the project, we have not only built strong relationships among the stakeholders through constant feedback, but have been in close contact with the target youths to enhance their ideas and create a sense of unity within it. We have also been operating with little costs, as indirect costs are non-existent.

    Sustainability and replicability

    To achieve sustainability, we use a framework called the ‘RPA model’, which serves to inform insufficiencies in the project, enabling us to further collaborate and fix issues by ourselves. Thus, it is essential for us to enhance communication among the actors and mobilize them to achieve our goals. As such, we constantly communicate with all the actors related to the project, hold meetings with each of them, dispatch Japanese staff to Somalia, and closely monitor local staff. Our project was originally devised to be universally approachable, in fields other than CVE, as it is based on the target’s needs. We put emphasis on what they want to do to overcome their problems, not on what we want them to do. In addition, the project is capable of maintaining a high level of sensitivity towards cultural and religious differences, thus can be implemented in other countries and regions. Other projects under the same approach have been done in Kenya and Indonesia, with a project in Yemen underway.

    Other sources of information

    Article from the Global South Development Magazine on our actions: https://www.gsdmagazine.org/accept-international-innovating-a-new-model… Article from the Paris Peace Forum on the 'RPA Model', which is the framework we incorporate in all of our practices, including the DRR Project: https://parispeaceforum.medium.com/leave-no-one-behind-even-those-who-w…

    COVID-19 Impact

    Due to the pandemic, the prison we work with is under worsened hygiene and crowded situations, making it more difficult to be in touch with the target youths. Given the situation, we have supplied the prison with sanitizers, masks, handwashing stations, and periodic supply of food and living supplies. To support our efforts for building back better, we have provided guidance on infection prevention, and established a defense strategy to tackle COVID-19. Furthermore, seeing worsened mental states of the youths, we have been providing psychological counselling and Islamic lectures, as well as interactive sessions with the local communities using online capabilities . In addition, due to their increased time in cells, we have been responding to increased book requests to empower self-study.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 April 2019 (start date)
    01 April 2023 (date of completion)
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    Other beneficiaries

    Beneficiaries: disengaged and active members of Al-Shabaab (target youths). Key stakeholders engaged: the government and army of Somalia, prison authorities, local communities, Islamic lecturers, psychological counselors, family of the beneficiaries, donors, and the United Nations. Partnerships: the government and army of Somalia, and prison authorities

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