ALLY – Amplifying Leadership of Local Youth – intends to amplify young people’s constructive voices and agency in addressing diverse factors of violent extremist narratives in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It is a 30-month program funded by the EU, launched in March 2020, and implemented by The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers with a consortium of partners: UNOY Peacebuilders, Finn Church Aid, Youth Development Foundation, Sri Lanka Unites, Rural Development Society, and Center for Communication and Development. Combined, the consortium carries 100+ years of experience in youth-driven peacebuilding and capacity development.
Through the ALLY fellowship program, 60 youth participated in regional and national PVE capacity-building trainings, both online and in-person, and are engaging in 12 Social Action Plans in 2021 to prevent violent extremism, train local peacebuilders, and implement national and regional advocacy campaigns for religious and ethnic minorities. In 2022, ALLY will support a further 12 Social Action Plans while advocating for local, national, and regional support for youth peacebuilders working to prevent violent extremism.
The Status of Youth-Led PVE Efforts
The ALLY project has produced 5 publications on trends and challenges of radicalization in South Asia: 4 policy briefs and an analysis report. The briefs on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) provide concise reviews of findings and policy recommendations related to strengthening the youth peace building sector in South Asia and specific countries as a mechanism for enhancing and broadening PVE activities throughout the region. First, they introduce the concepts related to violent extremism in specific contexts. Second, they explain the Participatory Action Research approach used in the base study, particularly its crucial role in illustrating the present contexts through the perspectives of peace builders. Third, it explores the key level findings.
The reader will learn the push and pull factors to violent extremism, and on the other hand, the previous and current initiatives to prevent violent extremism in each context. Together, these factors provide a comprehensive picture of the peace building work in South Asia and each country, and what can be done to improve and support this work. Finally, this brief concludes with recommendations that were informed by the discoveries presented here.
Led by Program Coordinator Mridul Upadhyay, the analysis report on PVE in South Asia was researched and written by the eight young ALLY researchers (two from each of the four research countries) – Kaush Weerakoon, Sameer Yadav, Shafaq Sarfraz, M. Rezwanur Rahman, Sumaiya Tanim, Janith Perera, Muhammad Salal, and Ritu Jain – together with the Lead Researcher, Felix Bivens, who facilitated and supervised the entire research journey. Through a participatory action research approach, the ALLY researchers engaged 69 active young peace builders, all under the age of 30, from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This unique peer-to-peer approach leverages the rich experience and knowledge of young peace builders, who are experts in the conflict dynamics in which they live. Felix trained the ALLY researchers – who conducted the data collection and analysis, and authored the research paper at various stages of the process – to produce this comprehensive evidence base on youth-led peace building in South Asia.
Meet the ALLY Researchers
Janith Prabashwara Perera
Mohammad Rezwanur Rahman
ALLY is funded by the European Union and implemented in a consortium of partners, including The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers / Finn Church Aid, United Network for Young Peacebuilders (UNOY), Youth Development Foundation, Sri Lanka Unites, Rural Development Society, and Center for Communication and Development of Bangladesh.
Finn Church Aid
United Network of Young Peacebuilders
Youth Development Foundation
Rural Development Society
Sri Lanka Unites
Center for Communication Development
This action is also supported by Islamic Relief Worldwide and Youth for Peace International.
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Youth for Peace International