Trying to work out if the money spent on development projects has made a real difference is hard; when this money is directed at sensitive and intangible goals like countering violent extremism (CVE), this gets even harder. CVE programmes, by nature, are designed with ambitious goals; they often seek to reduce or eliminate the violent extremist threat in a specific area, which is seemingly impossible to prove. So how, then, do we try to identify any sort of impact or changes in CVE programmes and attribute these changes to specific interventions?

As practitioners of preventing violent extremism (PVE), our aim is to reduce the drivers and enablers of extremism, whatever they may be, and in doing so, reduce the willingness to engage in or support violent acts against ‘the other’. As empathy is traditionally associated with lower propensities towards violence, this has led to the fostering of empathy as a program goal in some PVE activities. Messaging and alternative narratives are often included in PVE programming in pursuit of this aim.

Could a new initiative on graduation from poverty help eliminate extreme poverty in Kenya?

I’m heading out to Nairobi from London to help evolve how efforts to reduce poverty in Kenya are done. In the international development sector, and in the business world, improving the incentives for a large number of organisations to work together, and helping leaders in those organisations navigate a complex landscape that works better for the whole, can add genuine value.

What do you do when faced with a problem so vast so complex and so confusing that you can’t really work out what’s going on and have little idea what to do or where to start? The short easy answer is – you don’t work on it; the longer, harder answer is you work on the conditions that create the problem.

A two day training in a practical approach to systems change

It’s 16 years to the day after the attacks on the twin towers and I’m sat in a chilly Nairobi café eating a limp croissant with Gaëlle Le Pottier and trying to work out what it really takes to provide leadership in the face of one of today’s pre-eminent complex problems – violent extremism.

In this blog we look at complexity – not in theory, not in books, but in messy, live, reality. Hamish Wilson interviewed Jarso Guyo Mokku, a pastoralist leader from Northern Kenya, about his perspectives on the changing dynamics of peace and conflict in the region and the increasing complexity he finds himself living in

As we try and learn how to make change happen in complex systems we are seeking out the stories, experiences and advice of other pioneers (and there are lots of them).