On 14 May 2020, Dr Sahla Aroussi presented findings from her research, Strange bedfellows: Women, Peace and Security and Countering Violent Extremism in Kenya. The study examines the impact of linking women, peace and security with countering violent extremism on the ground in Kenya.
Dr Sahla Aroussi
Assistant Professor, Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University
Abstract from Dr Sahla Aroussi’s article, Strange bedfellows: Interrogating the unintended consequences of integrating countering violent extremism with the UN’s Women, Peace and Security agenda in Kenya:
In October 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2242 calling on Member States to work towards the greater integration of the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda with efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. While the rapprochement between counterterrorism and WPS may appear to be a step forward, particularly for those seeking to increase women’s participation in areas traditionally dominated by men, it is also potentially dangerous. This article makes a significant contribution to the larger debate on the WPS agenda by studying the impact and unintended consequences of linking WPS with countering violent extremism on the ground in Kenya. Based on original research in the field including key informant interviews, I argue that in the Kenyan context, connecting WPS with violent extremism has had several damaging consequences for women and their communities. Far from advancing the WPS agenda, this new policy shift has caused tension between local and international priorities, precipitated the redirection of donor funding away from important gender initiatives and towards countering violent extremism, and resulted in women’s additional stigmatisation, insecurity and exclusion.