Mira* is a young woman living in Madalum, a municipality in the Philippines, deeply affected by violence, especially during the 2017 military operations against ISIS-affiliated groups.
Like many of her peers, Mira’s dreams for a better future became clouded by the poverty of her circumstances growing up. Around her, she saw malnutrition, abandoned houses and unfinished roads.
Participating in a Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) - funded program aimed at engaging socially excluded youth gave her new optimism. Not only did she connect with other young people facing similar issues, she became determined to help her peers build their communities. This program, in the Philippines, operationalizes GCTF good practices on community engagement and community-oriented policing as tools to counter violent extremism.
“This project inspires us youth to participate in building peace and the development of our communities. It helps us understand the value of a peaceful environment, its impact and benefits, thus the need to reduce the presence of violent extremism,” said Mira.
Mira is aware of the challenges ahead, but she is confident that with the right knowledge and skills she can play a part in bringing peace to her community. “Violent extremism, if not addressed today, will only grow,” she said. “This project serves as a platform for me to find my value and identity as a Moro youth and my sense of purpose to my family and community.”
In Lanao del Sur, GCERF, a GCTF-Inspired Institution, supports a series of initiatives promoting active citizenry and personal leadership, enhancing the understanding of Bangsamoro identity and addressing historical grievances and discrimination which have been drivers of radicalization. Read more GCERF Snap Shots here.
*Not her real name
Photo supplied by Thuma Lanao