Liban Abdullah Omar (not pictured), who was found innocent of supporting the Westgate Mall attack in Sept. 2013, is seen off by his sister, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 7, 2020.(AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

There has been a consistent call to include gender in counterterrorism (CT) and “preventing and countering violent extremism” (P/CVE) policies and programs. While there are a few examples at the policy level of how to integrate gender into CT and P/CVE, at the local level, there is even less known about what it looks like to incorporate gender into CVE programs.

To relate the experiences of local actors working on gender and P/CVE, Rehema Zaid, an activist in Kenya, spoke with Phoebe Donnelly, Head of the Women, Peace and Security program at the International Peace Institute. Rehema Zaid is a Kenyan peacebuilder working with national civil society organizations and international networks on issues of gender and countering violent extremism (CVE).

CT and P/CVE seem to be one of Kenya’s key priorities during its turn as a member of the UN Security Council. Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN, was previously the President’s Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism and the Director of Kenya’s National Counterterrorism Centre. Of particular concern within Kenya, and across the region, is the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab, formed in Somalia in 2006. Al-Shabaab has launched high-profile attacks within Kenya, including the attack at the Westgate Mall (2013), Garissa University (2015), and the DusitD2 Hotel and Business Complex (2019).

In addition to Kenya’s focus on CT and P/CVE within the UN, Kenya will also be President of the UN Security Council in October 2021 for the Annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. Read more