Countering violent extremism and helping ex-combatants: New trends and approaches


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Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) is one of the primary instruments used by governments and international agencies to contribute to security and stability in war-to-peace transitions.  The DRR approach comprises a menu of key interventions to help ex-combatants transition from fighters to civilians and reduce their incentive to take up arms.

Today’s protracted conflicts are characterized by a fragmentation of armed groups that often overlap, splinter, and shift their allegiances.  In the last decade, there has been as much as a ten-fold increase in global terrorist incidents.  Many of these incidents have been inspired by, or are outgrowths of, ongoing large-scale civil conflicts with cross-border spillovers. In the Africa region alone, groups associated with violent extremism include Al Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria / Chad Basin.

The specter of violent extremism has presented a challenge to DDR programming. Increasingly, DDR programs are operating in arenas where the dynamics of conflict are in constant flux, with an ever-changing cosmology of fragmented armed groups, often characterized as violent extremist.

In this interview, Anna Wellenstein (@AnnaWellenstein), Director of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice invites Leanne Erdberg (@LErdberg), Director of Countering Violent Extremism, U.S. Institute of Peace, and Dean Piedmont (@Dean_Piedmont), Senior Advisor for Security Sector Reform and DDR, Creative Associates to discuss new approaches in understanding violent extremism, the role of social media, and issues of stigmatization of women and girls in violent extremist contexts.


Part One – New trends and reemerging approaches in understanding violent extremism



Part Two – Stigmatization of women and girls in violent extremist contexts



Anna Wellenstein

Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sustainable Development Practice Group

Leanne Edberg

Director of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), U.S. Institute of Peace

Dean Piedmont

Senior Advisor for Security Sector Reform & DDR, Creative Associates

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