How We Work

Supporting Local Efforts to Prevent Violent Extremism

When life-threatening attacks such as armed robbery and kidnapping became commonplace in the Osaragada and Aku communities in Kogi State, Nigeria, the communities took action. GCERF had helped to establish a Community Action and Response Team (CART) there, which serves as a community watch group to detect the early warning signs of violent extremism. The team wrote to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, requesting a security office in their communities.

By using advocacy skills developed through GCERF funding, the team exercised their agency and succeeded in setting up a security office to help keep their communities safe.
Our Process

Our Process

<span class="dl-pink-color">1.</span> Identify communities

1. Identify communities

Working with local partners to identify the communities most vulnerable to violent extremism.

<span class="dl-yellow-color">2.</span> Find and fund organisations

2. Find and fund organisations

Finding community-based organisation at the grassroots level that are capable of delivering local initiatives, and then utilising a global network to fund those with potential to grow and scale.

<span class="dl-green-color">3.</span> Build Capacity

3. Build Capacity

Unlocking local potential by building organisational capacity to ensure crucial skills and knowledge evolve in the early stages of development.

<span class="dl-blue-color">4.</span> Connect with partners

4. Connect with partners

Connecting local partners to national governments foundations, and businesses to further scale initiatives.

<span class="dl-green-color">5.</span> Monitor Progress

5. Monitor Progress

Striving for long-term sustainability with regular follow-ups and check-ins. GCERF uses this knowledge to enrich a global understanding of how to strengthen community resilience.





Stories from the ground

Reaching the Unreachable

Connect Local Communities

Local communities are critical to PVE efforts – including the successful implementation of PVE national strategies and action plans, as affirmed by the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism:

  • Local actors understand what drives recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism in their communities.
  • Local communities have innovative ideas about how to prevent recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism among their members.
  • Engaging communities and building their resilience is an important aspect of wider national and international PVE efforts.
While local communities may have inspiration and know-how, they often lack the funding to launch PVE initiatives or the capacity to sustain them. Traditional development donors have tended to focus on communities at risk of poverty, not at risk of recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism – and often these communities are not the same. GCERF aims to fill this funding gap in a sound and sustainable manner, including significant investment in building the capacity of local initiatives to better serve their communities, to improve their potential to access and manage donor funds in the future, and to secure innovative partnerships that reinforce their stability.

Reaching Beyond: GCERF’s Sub-Grantees

GCERF Sub-Grantees, also known as sub-recipients, are smaller organisations or networks that are closely linked to their local community and credible with their constituency of beneficiaries and programme participants. They are the ultimate recipients of GCERF funding and many have not received international funding previously. Sub-Grantees include local NGOs, socially-minded media companies and civil society organisations. GCERF mitigates the risks of working with these sub-recipients by including them in a consortium (led by a larger, national-level NGO); and strengthening their capacities.

Capacity-building modules include: financial and administrative management; compliance (ethics and anti-fraud); security and risk management; project cycle management, with a particular focus on monitoring, evaluation, and learning; partnership management; consortium management (e.g. forming and leading a consortium of smaller, local, community-based organisations); and thematic modules on PVE, gender, and communications.
Leverage Points

Leverage Points

GCERF is guided by the long-term vision of peaceful and inclusive communities that are resilient to violent extremism and achieve sustainable development. To achieve this, GCERF supports communities through a comprehensive approach that seeks to identify and address drivers of violent extremism through four leverage points.


Where violent extremists recruit the marginalised, GCERF aims to help communities build and strengthen positive options where communities and their members maintain cohesion during times of societal change.



Availability of more positive options, and an enhanced sense of purpose, inclusiveness, and acceptance of diversity among the community.

Lessons Learned

1.Religious leaders can be powerful advocates for peace.

Bringing religious leaders together for interfaith dialogue was highly successful and effective, even in areas where no platforms for cooperation previously existed; leaders from different faiths were keen and able to find common ground.

2.Involving local leaders and government officials in public and community engagement events adds value, extends reach,and enhances legitimacy.
Grantees observed that when local leaders and authorities attended public events such as rallies, human chains, processions, and discussions, the enthusiasm of the community members for those events increased.


Where violent extremists exploit governance challenges, GCERF aims to strengthen the capacity of communities to mobilise, organise, and represent their own interests.



enhanced mobilisation, organisation, and representation of communities and their interest; as well as increased engagement and dialogue with state authorities and other stakeholders

Lessons Learned

1.The work of GCERF grantees has demonstrated why community agency is a key ingredient for good governance: fostering active engagement between communities and local authorities, as well as supporting the implementation of local PVE action plans. In addition, local authorities may scale up successful activities, thereby expanding the reach of GCERF funding.

2.As respected members of the community, parents and teachers are powerful awareness-raising agents: Parents act as a support network for youth as well as powerful agents for disseminating positive alternative narratives, and raising awareness of violent extremism and effective responses. Additionally, school/madrasa management committees became an effective monitoring tool to identify early warning signs and provide a safe space to address students’ behaviour.



As positive social and economic alternatives to what violent extremists claim to offer, GCERF aims to lift barriers that limit access to social and economic opportunities.



removal of barriers to access opportunities, and a more diverse range of members of the community accessing opportunities

Lessons Learned and Recommendations:

1.Promoting equal access to opportunities requires adequate investment and ongoing support: GCERF grantees that provided young men and young women with small grants found that, with support, the participants spent the grants wisely and are now mostly self-employed. However, small grants need to be large enough for beneficiaries to be able to invest in lucrative and sustainable livelihood activities.


With critical thinking and confidence to resist violent extremism, GCERF aims to help individuals become more resilient to radicalisation to violent extremism through a stronger and more positive sense of self.



enhanced critical thinking and life skills, as well as through more positive sense of self, of contribution and of belonging among members of the community.

Lessons Learned and Recommendations:

1.Youth are proactive on PVE and should be empowered as change agents: They contribute to their communities’ PVE efforts in creative ways, and, in return, this vitality of community ownership gives young people a sense of purpose.

2.Most successful activities: safe spaces help increase youth and women’s confidence; sport events combined with peace messages are an effective way of engaging with young people, and give them a sense of belonging; skills acquisition training to access meaningful employment addresses the challenge of material enticements by violent extremist groups.

Stories of Resilience

Boubacar is a village chief’s son from Ségou. He lost his arm in a gunfight, and the local court took four years to adjudicate his case. During the legal process, he lost all his property. Seeing how unfairly he was treated, Boubacar suspects that the perpetrator, who is much richer than he, bribed the judge.

After suffering this injustice, Boubacar was highly vulnerable to the recruitment promises of violent extremist groups. A GCERF-funded grantee noticed him and invited him to an awareness-raising event. When Boubacar responded well to this, they asked him to join a community watch group. He was inspired by these activities and went on to mediate conflicts in his home village. Because of his personal story of healing and forgiveness, he has become a very convincing mediator. In the future, Boubacar hopes to reach out to religious leaders and traditional authorities to raise awareness on PVE.

Empowering Women and Girls for Resilient Communities

In support of UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, gender responsiveness is one of GCERF’s core principles – and is a cornerstone of community resilience. In Mali, GCERF grantees have trained dozens of female communicators of oral tradition (griottes) to play a prominent role in raising awareness about PVE, and have provided psychosocial support to women victimised by violence. In addition, GCERF grantees have provided support for more than 5,000 women to work towards economic autonomy via income-generating activities. In Nigeria and Mali, 11,000 women reported that GCERF programming had improved their livelihood. Participants report that these activities have increased access to land and entrepreneurship among women. GCERF grantees made specific efforts to be gender responsive in adapting their programming – for instance, one GCERF grantee reached out to parents/guardians to ensure their girls’ participation in residential vocational skills training.