Mapping Dynamics and Perceptions of Violent Extremism: A Study of Nature, Drivers and Perceptions of Muslim Women and Girls Toward Violent Extremism in Kenya

To date, research on Violent Extremism (VE) has devoted less attention on the place and role of women in recruitment and radicalization. As a result, strategies and programs aimed at preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) have largely been skewed towards male recruits and the masculine settings. It is against this background that this survey was planned. The aim is to complement efforts by the Kenyan government and other relevant actors in promoting an all-inclusive understanding and better responses to VE. The survey focused on Muslim women and girls in the VE hot-spot areas of Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale at the coast; Mandera, Wajir and Garissa in north eastern; and Isiolo in eastern Kenya. This report presents detailed findings of the survey. In sum, the survey found out that women and girls in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale as well as those in north eastern such as Mandera, Wajir and Garissa and Isiolo in eastern, generally feel socially and economically excluded by the central government. They conveyed a sense of an existential threat to their community and inferring from this context, most explained that it is this sense of crisis and frustration that has led a number of them to participate in acts of VE. Their perceptions, therefore, towards extremist groups and VE in Kenya is that of victims of circumstances and manipulations and not the unruly, destructive, and dangerous forces needing containment.