Preventing Violent Extremism in Kenya through Value Complexity: Assessment of Being Kenyan Being Muslim
Journal of Strategic Security
abstract
Being Kenyan Being Muslim (BKBM) is an intervention that counters violent extremism and other forms of intergroup conflict through promoting value complexity. BKBM was trialled in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya with a group of twenty-four participants of Kenyan and Somali ethnicities; eight participants were identified as vulnerable to extremism, six of these were former al Shabaab members. This article provides an empirical assessment of the effectiveness of the BKBM course. The new BKBM course follows the structure of the Being Muslim Being British course that exposes participants to the multiplicity of value priorities that influential Muslims embody, and structures group activities that allow participants to explore all value positions on issues central to extremist discourse and relevant to events in Kenya, free from criticism or social pressure. The intervention, a sixteen-contact-hour course using films and group activities that enable participants to problem solve on extremism-related topics according to a broad array of their own values, was pre and post tested with twenty-four participants (twenty-two of whom completed the full assessments), (mean age 29.6, SD = 6.27). As hypothesized, Integrative Complexity (IC) increased significantly by the end of the course in written verbal data, and there was clear evidence of ability to perceive some validity in different viewpoints (achieving differentiation) in all oral participant presentations at the end of the course.