Responsible leadership for a complex world. We live in a world facing challenges that no single individual or institution, however well intentioned, powerful or well-resourced, can tackle alone. Challenges such as climate change, the rise of popularism, inequality, biodiversity loss and more.

At Wasafiri, we have recently been discussing different measurement techniques when trying to understand how change happens in complex conflict-affected environments. This is no easy task.

Might a bird’s eye view of investments in agri-food systems in Africa alarm or excite us, as we consider the findings of the EAT-Lancet Commission? Is the future food supply in Africa sufficiently incentivised to transition to meet future demand for healthier diets?

How might stakeholders in food systems respond to ‘a global imperative’ on future diets?
Could a stronger systems approach help?

“We are drifting deeper into global problems from which we will struggle to extricate ourselves.” This bleak outlook summarises the World Economic Forum’s recently published Global Risks Report. The scale, complexity and urgency of such challenges is breathtaking.

On our blog, we’ve written before about how we feel that within the CVE (countering violent extremism) sector, research and programming can – for a variety of reasons related to sensitivity and confidentiality – become problematically siloed. More and more though we’re also noticing a wider problem of siloing, which is that CVE work as a whole is often treated in isolation from the wider conflict, peacebuilding and governance field..

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.