Supporting Families in CVE

25 May 2021    |    NIGERIA & INDONESIA
Recent phenomena of Radicalization leading to Violent Extremism (RLVE) have proven to be particularly widespread amongst youth. The rise of appealing violent extremist narratives has recently made it more challenging for public authorities to push back on the phenomenon. In this context, families have a critical role to play in preventing and countering efforts as well as in supporting dis-engagement, rehabilitation, and reintegration of family members who were radicalized and/or recruited into violent extremism.
Wives, mothers, fathers, and siblings are often best placed to prevent radicalization of vulnerable members or sustain rehabilitative efforts for individuals who have been already radicalized. Such family members are expressing the need for a deeper understanding of early signs of vulnerability to potential radicalization and for broader expertise to counter radicalization and recruiters’ arguments. Indeed, some family members may not be able to identify early signs of vulnerability or may not be able to intervene to stop the process of potential or actual radicalization.
While families are the best actors to identify potential early signs of the vulnerability of their members and perhaps influence community perceptions, government entities, practitioners and civil society organizations are best suited to provide families with useful tools as well as guidance, knowledge and practical support.
Families can:
  • Identify possible early signs of vulnerability and then act to prevent children/partners/other members joining violent extremist groups;
  • Influence community perceptions and behaviors, and help building and strengthening individual and community resilience;
  • Provide voices to counter violent extremist recruitment narratives;
  • Provide own narratives – of both loss (of family members); and
  • Assist in the disengagement, rehabilitation, and reintegration of radicalized family members.
CVE practitioners (community leaders, psychologists, social workers, government agencies) can:
  • Provide families with suitable knowledge, skills, and tools against RLVE; this includes tools on prevention, early intervention, dis-engagement, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
  • Provide support, and potentially a platform, for family-led or instigated CVE initiatives.
  • Provide information and guidance on positive pathways that may make family members less vulnerable to RLVE.
In this framework, Hedayah conducted a workshop in collaboration with the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF)  to identify lessons learned and good practices on the roles of families in recognizing, preventing and intervening in violent extremist radicalization and recruitment. The workshop, held in 2016, also aimed to catalogue specific programmatic approaches to empowering and supporting family members and creating practitioner resources.
Responding to concerns expressed by the wider CVE Community, Hedayah utilized the final recommendations from the workshop and its experience on RFTFs, youth radicalization, and preventative programs and developed a program on how to best support families in CVE efforts, to include counter-radicalization and rehabilitation efforts. A series of expert workshops followed and was organized and leveraged to collect the most effective global approaches available.
The program focuses on the challenges faced by practitioners when dealing with families whose members are affected to a different extent by RLVE. From 2019, this program is currently being implemented in Indonesia, supported by the Government of Japan, and in Nigeria, supported by the Government of the United Kingdom. These programs are focusing on specific categories of social practitioners including psychologists, social workers, and community-based organizations.
The structure of the programs include:
  • One or more needs assessment visits to identify the ideal recipients and contextualize the global curriculum.
  • One or more capacity building trainings depending on needs.
  • Monitoring, Measurement and Evaluation (MM&E) Visits.

Hedayah is the first organization to conduct a families and countering violent extremism program in Asia and Africa.


Supporting constructive engagements and responses for families whose members are vulnerable to or affected by RLVE.

  • Enhance practitioners’ knowledge and skills in increasing the resilience of families whose members are potentially vulnerable to RLVE.
  • Enhance practitioners’ knowledge and skills in restoring the resilience of families whose members are affected by RLVE  at different levels;
  • Enhance practitioners’ theoretical and practical knowledge of the multi-agency work and coordination with other practitioners and stakeholders when working on RLVE.
  • Enhance practitioners’ knowledge and skills in engaging and involving such families in CVE efforts targeting their vulnerable/radicalized family members as well as the wider society; and
  • Enhance Government officials’ and civil society organizations’ ability to raise awareness on the importance of families in CVE efforts.