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Enhancing the Capacity of Children Officers in Kenya to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism 

Nairobi, 20 April 2023 - The curriculum and manual for training children officers on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), were officially launched by the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Ms. Florence Bore.

Other representatives who graced the occasion were: Mr. Joseph Motari, MBS, Principal Secretary, State Department of Social Protection and Senior Citizen Affairs, Justice Teresia Matheka, National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Children Matters, Ms. Charity Kagwi, Regional Head of the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Pillar, officials from the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Education, Directorate of Children Services (DCS) among others. Children from Kabete, Kirigiti and Dagoretti Rehabilitation Centres were also in attendance.

The recruitment of children and young people for terrorism and violent extremism have increasingly become a global challenge, occurring in situations of armed conflict and even outside of armed conflict. Such recruitment often leads to exploitation, abuse and victimization of young people. Cross-cutting social issues such as poverty, marginalisation, religious beliefs and dysfunctional families are all contributing push, pull and personal factors that predispose children and young people to radicalization to violent extremism.

PCVE is an emerging concept in Kenya, necessitated by the rise of terrorist threats over the years. Although this is not a new concept, the dynamism of violent extremism has called for consistent proactive interventions to prevent and combat terrorism and other related crimes. These counter-terrorism strategies have taken prevalence countrywide, through government and community-based approaches based on support and protective pull factors.

UNODC has continued to support the Justice System in Kenya to implement reforms on child justice matters, including handling the very complex and multifaceted phenomenon of children and youth involved in serious crimes such as violent extremism. While it is important to note that not all children and youth involved in serious crimes are in contact with the justice system, often actors working within that system, for example, police, children officers and probation officers are the first ones to have contact with those children.

For this reason, they have an undeniable responsibility to protect, respect and fulfil children’s rights, to prevent revictimization and to take action to ensure that the justice system collaborates to provide suitable responses to vulnerable groups including child and youth offenders. To this effect and through the project funded by Global Affairs Canada, UNODC collaborated with the DCS to develop a tailor-made Training Curriculum and Manual on PCVE for Children Officers.

The training curriculum and manual are designed to be practical, accessible, and user-friendly, providing a valuable resource for practitioners who handle children matters within the Kenyan Context.  It covers a wide range of topics that include international standards and national legal framework on child justice in relation to violent extremism; radicalization and violent extremism; rehabilitation and reintegration responses to violent extremism; and worker skills and self-care in responding to violent extremism. 

“The documents we are launching today will equip children officers with knowledge and provide them with recommended measures in self-care and mental wellness as they deal with children in conflict with the law. I urge all actors to take advantage of these tailor-made instruments and utilize them to counter violent extremism in Kenya. Further, I wish to acknowledge the outstanding partnership of UNODC and DCS which has made possible the provision of equipment for vocational training, counselling services, family empowerment, micro-business start-up kits among others,’’ said Hon. Bore.

Starting from May 2023, these training tools will be applied in strengthening DCS capacities, responses and strategies to manage cases of children and young offenders in line with international standards and national legal framework. A pool of Training of Trainers will be created to rollout the training to children officers as well as ensure sustainability of the training programme.

“We all have a responsibility to mentor the children of today. We are proud to be working with the DCS on this important initiative and thank the Government of Canada for their generous support. I also applaud the Government of Kenya for their commitment in supporting children to be part of building the nation,’’ highlighted Ms. Kagwi. 


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More information:

  • Preventing Violent Extremism in Kenya’s Children’s Statutory Institutions
  • UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030:
  • Sustainable Development Goal 16, UNODC supports Member States in the establishment of effective, fair and humane criminal justice systems. It provides normative, analytical, and operational assistance to strengthen criminal justice institutions to tackle crime, corruption, and terrorism.
  • Preventing violent extremism through education (UNESCO, 2017)