Promoting prevention of violent extremism among Malian migrants


An estimated 763 million people live outside the region where they were born and currently, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, with 65.6 million people being forcibly displaced worldwide according to UN statistics. In Mali, the armed conflict that broke out in the northern part of the country in 2012, between the Government and insurgents, including radical extremist groups, caused a migration crisis. According to recent UN and Government figures, over 135,000 Malian refugees have migrated to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, with many more internally displaced within Mali.  These migrants, especially those who are young with low literacy skills, can be vulnerable to radicalization and to being recruited by violent extremist groups.

Prevention through education is key. In 2017, UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education Programme (CapED), supported Mauritania’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Original Education, in charge of literacy, and the Ministry of Education and vocational training, in charge of non-formal education (NFE), develop a national plan for the integration of Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) in literacy and NFE programmes.

The plan defines the concepts, methodology, scope and strategies for the successful integration of GCE-PVE education into education programmes, as well as providing monitoring and evaluation tools.

With support from CapED, the Government also developed modules, textbooks and teaching guides for adult education and out-of-school children that include concepts on respect for diversity, gender, critical thinking, technology and media, social justice, and citizen engagement.

The modules, which were adopted nationwide by the Mauritanian government, are currently also being used by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNICEF in literacy and NFE classes for Malian migrants in the Southern Mauritanian Mbera refugee camp, close to the Malian border.

Going forward, during 2019, UNESCO will support the MoE to develop a school charter (charte de l’école) with a special focus on promoting global citizenship education. This charter will be presented during a national event to different social actors, the local education group, as well as relevant ministries. Moreover, UNESCO will support the MoE to design a training module for literacy and NFE facilitators with a special focus on GCE-PVE education.

In addition, to coordinate with different agencies and promote knowledge sharing, UNESCO is liaising with the regional cluster Office in Mauritania and the G5 Sahel group to support different actions regarding GCE-PVE education in the country based on CapED’s experience.