While only a small percentage of the overall population, the rising number of youth that are targeted to join extremist groups demonstrates that current approaches to preventing or countering violent extremism (P/CVE) must be reevaluated. Rather than focusing on maximizing short term security efforts, evidence shows that long-term community-based development initiatives that address both the push and pull factors that cause certain youth to engage in violence, can increase youth voices and strengthen their participation in peacebuilding. The 2015 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (SCR 2250) on Youth, Peace and Security and emerging literature emphasizes the need to switch the narrative to recognize youth as positive agents for peacebuilding and security rather than stigmatizing them as risks and threats. SCR 2250 encourages governments, international organizations, and civil society to actively engage youth populations as partners in both shaping peace and security processes and implementing promising practices related to comprehensive, community-based solutions so that they may have greater peace dividends. However, finding strong evindence for successful programs in these contexts can be difficult.
Purpose of this list of promising practices prepared by USAID:
Even though each context requires a unique evaluation, there are still lessons to be learned from successful programs across the globe. The following is a list of promising and evidence-based best practices to prevent youth from engaging in extremist activities and build resilience through positive participation. These practices are coupled with an example of a program that exemplifies each approach. Each practice and approach have been organized into four categories following the format of the Youth Action Agenda to Prevent Violent Extremism and Promote Peace. It must be noted that the most effective programs use a combination of these measures.