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Happy Chances Youth Resource Center for countering violence and extremism in Mombasa, Kenya

Youth built resource center for violent extremism de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Photo of Martha Otieno
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project idea is the construction of a youth resource center in the middle of Mombasa, Kenya city. A major target city for terrorists and extremists for recruitment of youths and propagating of violent extremist ideologies, and currently hosting returnees and disengaged youths from terrorist groups as a result of a government initiative. The resource center will provide counselling reasoning tools for mindset shift, economic well being through vocational training and business skills and outreach activities for vulnerable youths, radicalized youths, disengaged youths and returnees. For reintegration back into the society where they are currently stigmatized and living in fear of attack from the security, community and peers. The centre not only acts as a learning hub but also a safe haven for youths.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are youths aged 18-35 who are vulnerable to radicalization including out of school and jobless youths, violence extremism empathizers, those that have disengaged from terrorist groups and returnees in the county of Mombasa, Kenya.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

What is different with the idea is that it encompasses not only the preventive aspect in violent extremism but also rehabilitation and reintegration. Most organizations work around countering violent extremism in the preventive, and avoid rehabilitation and integration which pose risks to implementer. Reaching the youths tend to be an uphilll task too as they hide for safety from security agents and peers. Our organization has a unique advantage as it is purely made of local youths who have been vulnerable before, and our previous project was around rehabilitation of drug addicts, we are borrowing from the learnings of that particular project. Having a resource center brings all aspects of the project under one roof, and reduces vulnerability of the youths to attacks from the community as the youths get to mingle with other youths using the resource center, thus avoiding segregation and attack, which has been the narrative with a similar project.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Our organization is called Hekima CBO, a youth led organization, duly registered in 2016. The group is made up of 25 individuals, 15 males and 10 females in Mombasa County, Kenya. Core activities include devolution, peace and advocacy, Drug and other substance abuse and Countering violent extremism, through trainings, education and gender equity. Currently running a project on environment and drug and substance abuse.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

What inspires us to start this project is the outcome of a previous project that was working on reintegration of trainees. The project offered business skills and motorcycles as a means of livelihood. A large number of returnees turned up, but as soon as they strated their business had they started being attacked. This forced the project to end prematurely. The gap was in segregation of the youths, not having a safe haven for them, short duration and no community peace building activities.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace has been influenced by violent extremism, stigmatization, retaliation by peers and security arms. Prosperity has been impacted by insecurity caused by violent extremism as it has affected tourism which is the economic background of Mombasa, Kenya City. Stigmatization of returnees, lack of technical skills influencing prosperity..

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

National government- Interior security, sensitization, mobilization County government- Trainings and skills. Community organizations- mobilization Youths- Participants, volunteering, outreach activities, advocacy. Women- Mobilization, participation Men- sensitization, mobilization, donate land Individuals- sponsors

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

There are various actors including government, community organizations and community members willing to collaborate and work alongside us. There is a Mombasa Counter Violent Extremism Action Plan draft already in place.

Geographic Focus

The project will target youths of Mombasa County, Kenya in Africa.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

30 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)


Attachments (1)

User experience map.docx

This is the typical stages the user experinces once engaged.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Angi Yoder Maina

Hi Martha Otieno 

Green String Network will be starting a CVE intervention at the community level in Mombasa in the coming month.... Kumekucha: It's a New Dawn -- please contact me if you are interested in collaborating, we are hoping to work with existing programs to enhance sustainability and building on the good work already being done.


Photo of Martha Otieno

Hi Angi,

Thank you for your response.
We will be very pleased to collaborate with your team.
While many parts of the country have been affected by acts of terrorism in the recent past, the coastal region has suffered the most. Mombasa County, which is the epicenter of the coastal region, has had its fair share of devastation associated with terrorist attacks and radicalization. Various local and international terrorist organizations and outlawed groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Shabaab and Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) all have some significant presence in Mombasa County, and therefore your intervention is very welcome and needed.
We would also like to appeal to any other group interested to partner with us to drop us an email and we would be more than happy to collaborate.

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