The West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism (WACCE) is set to empower Women in the Northern, Upper East and West in Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE).
The WACCE project is intended at empowering women to serve as key players in Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) in Northern, Upper East and West Ghana.
The project is scheduled to begin today Monday in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional Capital and will be replicated in the Upper West and Northern Regions.
It will consist of a two-day capacity building workshops to empower 200 individuals to serve as effective actors in PVE.
The project is funded by the US Embassy in Ghana in line with their commitment to Ghana’s sustainable peace and national stability.
At a Press Briefing in Tamale, Mr Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, the Executive Director of WACCE said the threat of violent extremism was descending towards coastal states from the Sahel, and Ghana faces potential threat of recruitment and radicalization.
He said attacks in three countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), have increased fivefold since 2016, and with more than 4,000 deaths reported in 2019 alone.
Mr. Muqthar said Ghana’s strong interaction with and proximity to Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Niger were all theatres for terrorist violence and have in the last four years provoked predictions and fears that the country could be among the next new frontier for radicalization and attacks in West Africa.
“Already more than 13 Ghanaians are believed to have joined terrorist groups. It is only a matter of time that attacks may become a reality here unless swift and adequate measures are put in place against the threat”.
The WACCE Executive Director said women and girls were both victims and vulnerable targets for radicalization and recruitment and that as seen in many parts of West Africa including Northern Nigeria, Mali, Niger and Northern Burkina Faso, women and girls have been used as conduits to detonate Improvised Explosive Devices at IDP camps, market centers and other public places.
He said most PVE and CVE programs have been disproportionately focused and targeted at men, to the neglect of women, adding that, women and girls represent a key factor in preventing radicalization.
“Women play a catalytic role in shaping behavioral patterns and character development of the individual as they spend a disproportionately larger amount of time at home with children and young adults”.
Mr. Muqthar said it was ironic and unrealistic to seek success against violent extremism without the frontal role of women and girls and that where the traditional male-led role fails in preventing violent extremism, women can succeed.
“Women with adequate knowledge and training on PVE can effect a huge positive change in the lives of vulnerable individuals. It is based on these facts and factors that we are organizing this program”.
Mr. Muqthar said WACCE with the support of the US Embassy and other partners, has trained more than 1,800 peace ambassadors in vulnerable areas in the last three years to help prevent violent extremism in Ghana.
He is confident and hopeful that this campaign will be successful in helping our country Ghanaato avoid the scourge of terrorism that has engulfed our neighbors in the region and thank the media, for their continious support and to ensure the successful implementation and dissemination of the outcomes of this program.
The West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism (WACCE) is an independent not-for-profit organization focused on counter-terrorism research in West Africa.
It is the leading organization focused on Preventing Violent Extremism in Ghana. Its research and outreach programs are intended at uncovering the underpinnings of radicalization and violent extremism to support state and regional counter-terrorism policies and strategies.
For more than 5 years WACCE have worked with local communities, state and non-state actors to deepen understanding around violent extremism and its drivers. WACCE’s PVE programs have helped to stop more than 22 individuals from joining terrorist groups.