Justice and security

Non-state security groups against extremism in Kenya, Nigeria & Indonesia

Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

The project will undertake a multi-sited, multi-level comparative exploration of the role played by non-state security groups in the provision of ‘human security’ in Fragile and Conflict-affected states in contexts of violent religious extremism. Such extremism is experienced daily in Kenya, Nigeria and Indonesia, where Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and IS put chronic pressures on local communities. In the absence of effective state interventions, local non-state security groups have emerged resisting extremism by deploying defense, policing, governance and development activities.

The project seeks to deliver new evidence-based insights into the broader societal support, effect, critique and understanding of such activities by: 1) analyzing non-state security groups discourse and properties, particularly concerning their potential for violence, in relation to discourses of local community stakeholders; 2) identifying and characterizing non-state security groups -government relations, including particular in terms of legitimacy and sovereignty, 3) analyzing the interplays between local, national and transnational levels of legitimacy, security provision and development, 4) formulating a dynamic theory of change concerning the developmental role of non-state security groups in dealing with extremist threat, 5) formulating a policy-oriented comparative typologization of non-state security groups actors, activities and agency, and 6) formulating countryspecific policy recommendations for the inclusion of non-state security groups in security provision.

The project will therefore not only add to existing knowledge about non-state security groups in both a country-specific and a comparative manner, but will also challenge current mainstream policy assumptions about the necessity to deal with such groups violently, highlighting how their legitimacy and potential for inclusion within security governance arrangements can vary contextually.

Research consortium

Main applicant: Prof. J.W.M. van Dijk (African Studies Centre, The Netherlands) Co-applicants: Prof. O. Obono (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria); Mr A. Keita (Groupe Observation des Dynamiques Sociales, Spatiales et Expertise Endogène, Mali); Mr M. Goita (Institute de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives de Développement en Afrique, Mali).

NWO/WOTRO's research program "Security & Rule of Law in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings"

In cooperation with NWO/WOTRO, the research program ‘Security & Rule of Law in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings' has been established. The research program is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consists of two separate funding instruments: The Strategic Research Fund and the Applied Research Fund. In addition to the thematic calls under the Applied and Strategic Research Funds, two Open Calls were launched in 2015.  The Platform is responsible for defining the substantive focus of the calls that will open under this funding program.

Strategic research

Strategic research is research designed to develop and help decide on a strategy to reach specified policy goals. It addresses the academic basis and underlying assumptions of policy theories and intervention logics. Here, strategic research is meant to lead to informed advice and policy prescriptions for development practitioners. Within the Strategic Research Fund, two calls have been launched.

Comprehensive approach to human security

The call on ‘Comprehensive Approaches to Human Security’ within the Strategic Research Fund aims to contribute to new evidence-based knowledge and insights on policies and intervention theories and strategies regarding inclusive, comprehensive approaches to human security in fragile and conflict-affected settings, in view of transnational security threats. 

Consult the link below for an overview of all research projects within WOTRO's research program:

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