Practical Interventions

Below are some practical recommendations on some ways to engage the young person on the basis of the risk they are in, consistent with risk assessment

1. Be present and available to the individual or young person under your care

 

Every individual, however quiet or loud, needs positive attention. As much as is possible, ensure that you give the individual undivided attention when you are with them so that they can know that you care about them. For many of them, this attention might be the only thing that gives them hope to continue pursuing their dreams and to remain focused. Make a log of how many times you have been interacting with all the individuals throughout the school term, and ensure that for those that have not had a lot of contacts, you check to see that they are faring well.

2. Limit self-isolation

 

Often, radicalization into extremism and the journey into violent extremism isolates the individual from their family and friend support. The recruiter actively seeks to isolate their target to better be able to manipulate, mislead and disorient. Try and resist this by gently drawing the individual back into their circle of friends and relatives.  

3. Involve him or her in positive activities

 

Encourage the potentially radicalized person to take part in activities that strengthen their linkage to positive role models, friendliness and peace. Activities like team sports, student clubs, community service, or other activities like drama, the arts or science congress, to name a few. These activities with their peers will encourage the values of hard work, cooperation, discipline, as well as satisfaction in helping others. These are key traits to build within individuals to ensure that they are productive and socially engaged.

4. Talk to them regularly

 

Ensure that you speak with the individual on a regular basis. In order to do it well, ensure that you are aware of their age because individuals of different ages require different ways of speaking with them. Individuals have their own opinions and ways to express them too, so it is important to listen to them, and then gently respond to them. If a person expresses views that may go against normal societal norms — for example, they think that a certain criminal is a good person — ask them why they think so and do not lose your cool. Gently dispute these thoughts by giving an alternative example of better role models that they can relate to. This is important, because normally adults may get angry without providing an alternative.

5. Know the individual’s or young person’s friends on the internet and offline

 

Always monitor who close friends are both physically and on the internet. Friends are the single most important source of social information and reinforcement. For parents, ask the individual if you can meet their friends so that you can apply your judgment about the values that are generated in the contact. This extends to their friends and groups that they belong to on social media, and online in general. For teachers, take note of the friend groupings that happen with individuals in your classes. Make a deliberate effort to ensure that individuals with pro-social attitudes are openly encouraged to keep up these attitudes. This gently guides the ones with less pro-social attitudes to want to adopt positive social attitudes as well.

6. Meet each other (parents/guardians and teachers)

 

It is important that when a student experiences difficulties, either academically, socially or in their level of discipline, that the parents/guardians and the teacher meet to exchange ideas of what might need to be done to intervene effectively. Disciplining the individual is not enough. Take time to see what the root causes of their difficulties are, and support them to resolve them.

7. Have mentoring sessions with relevant role models periodically

 

Identify good role models in the family, or the close community to interact with the individuals periodically. This is an especially powerful tool in encouraging young people to achieve high standards in both their school and social lives. Family role models can be an uncle or aunt, a grandparent, or a family friend; what they have in common is admiration and respect from the young person. Have the role models speak on life issues, and then allow for the young persons to ask questions.

8. Seek professional help in difficult cases

 

On rare occasions you will find that though you have tried your best, you are not succeeding. This is especially the case with persons who are already involved with criminal activities or are extremely violent with their peers or are heavy abusers of drugs and alcohol. There are also those who are already radicalized. In such instances, reach out to the police or local government authorities for further options.

9. Further guidance is available online

 

Please write an email to gethelp@citizensupport.go.ke for further guidance, to send an alert, and to ask direct questions. A team of experts on disengagement, rehabilitation and reintegration will be on hand to help.

© 2020 Citizen Support Mechanism