Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been urged to intensify their advocacy roles to help prevent violent extremism in the country.

Ms. Melody Azinim, Peace and Governance Analyst at the Ghana Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who made the call, said the role of CSOs in preventing violence extremism in communities could not be over emphasized.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, after engagement with some CSOs and other state institutions to build synergies for the prevention of violent extremism, she said CSOs active involvement would complement government’s effort of keeping the country safe.

She said the UNDP had undertaken a series of engagements with over 30 stakeholders and CSOs from border communities along the country’s major boundary zones to build their capacities to intensify advocacy at the community levels to help the people to identify and report potential violent extremists.

Ms. Azinim said CSOs were very significant as their knowledge of local drivers of extremism and close interaction with community members could be leveraged to guide policies and actions both at the local and national levels to keep communities safe.

“There are complex vulnerabilities in many communities that require urgent attention, therefore, forging partnerships with civil society is critical in addressing these vulnerabilities and building resilient communities against violent extremism,” she noted.

She said violent extremism and terrorism have been a major threat to the peace and stability of states around the world for many years.

According to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI), 63 countries recorded at least one death from terrorists’ attack in 2019.

In the West African sub-region, various terrorist organizations have succeeded in expanding their recruitment schemes, radicalizing people to engage in domestic acts of terrorism in countries including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.

Ms. Theodora Anti, representative of the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), told the GNA that meetings between CSOs and relevant state institutions would help strengthen collaborations for violent extremism prevention.

“This engagement has been very insightful for me.

I have gained a deeper understanding of the national framework for the prevention and countering violent extremism,” she stated.

Mr Abraham Korbla Klutsey, the Executive Director of Youth for Peace and Security Africa (YPSA), also said the engagement had offered opportunities to learn from experiences of other CSOs and it would go a long way in strengthening efforts in keeping Ghana safe.

He called for continuous collaboration among stakeholders in the fight for peace and stability of Ghana.