To Combat Extremism, We Need Local Partnerships

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Media Outlet: The Hill

Mina Chang wrote for The Hill about the need for local partnerships to combat extremism:

When combating issues such as violent extremism, it’s tempting to look at the problem through a top-down lens. But effective strategies begin on the ground, with local leaders who understand their communities. They possess important knowledge about the resources their people need, the challenges they face and the values that shape their lives. That information is critical when fighting extremism.

Disastrous consequences occur when national governments, aid workers and international coalitions attempt to enforce solutions to extremism without inviting local leaders into the conversation. Research conducted by five major United Kingdom nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) found that its sector is "failing to learn" from one crisis to the next, missing opportunities to work effectively with local partners.

It should be noted that this has been a failing of large organizations in particular. There is broad agreement that smaller NGOs are nimbler and more inclusive, but they find it difficult to secure sufficient funding.

Author:

Mina Chang serves as chief executive officer for Linking the World and has extensive on-the-ground experience, including Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq. She is a fellow with the International Security program at New America.