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Preventing violent extremism through education

Recognizing fake news from real news is very challenging. After training from Hedayah, we use a digital and critical literacy approach with students.

Teacher, Uganda

Education offers an important space to counter violent extremism. Hedayah’s international expertise in education addresses local push and pull factors leading to radicalization and recruitment.

Based on international United Nations guidelines and the Abu Dhabi Memorandum on Education and Countering Violent Extremism, Hedayah and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) developed a curriculum to counter violent extremism in Uganda and South Sudan. This was complemented by teacher training in local districts. Hedayah helped improve teachers’ understanding of the drivers of violent extremism, their role in prevention and approaches to improve students’ digital and media literacy to critically assess information, which helps students reject violent extremist propaganda.

We showed teachers how to cultivate a safe space for classroom dialogue about challenging topics, which is a powerful means to strengthen students’ tolerance and their ability to address grievances. We also taught teachers to focus on social and emotional learning, which can better support students in developing a strong sense of identity and belonging, thus minimizing potential recruitment to violent extremist groups. We also created a localized network of teachers and educators to facilitate and foster an information system. The curriculum and training enabled teachers to handle vulnerable students engaging in violence, which can be a precursor to violent extremism.

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