Intolerance, radicalization and violent extremism (VE) are serious issues in Indonesia. Driven by long-term trends such as the international rise of religious extremism, globalization, rising inequality, rising skepticism about democracy’s ability to deliver, and the prevalence of social media, they pose a significant risk to democracy, peace and security.
The USAID-funded Harmoni: Towards Inclusion and Resilience project works primarily at the family, village, secondary school and university levels, with a focus on the heavily populated provinces in Java – home to more than 100 million Indonesians. Harmoni assists communities and government agencies in building the mechanisms and skills to prevent or mitigate acts of intolerance and violent extremism.
Examples of our efforts include supporting improvement of systems that reintegrate formerly radicalized individuals and their families, including those from migrant communities. With support from Harmoni’s civil society grantees, the government of Indonesia has tested systems for assessment, remediation and redress for former terrorists and their families.
Our work with Indonesia’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Law and Human Rights has increased social worker skills to strengthen the role of rehabilitation centers for former extremists and allocate more funds to help rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have been exposed to VE influences.
In other efforts, we work in junior high schools to deliver student journalism training to foster diversity and tolerance among students and teachers, in collaboration with local media outlets. We’re conducting a series of strategic communications labs to assist key CSOs to amplify positive messages that counter intolerance and better target audiences via social media. We’re also working with CSOs, family welfare and child education experts to deliver parenting trainings incorporating preventing violent extremism approaches that aim to build the resilience of at-risk families.
We work actively with local partners to build capacity and mainstream gendered approaches across their programs to increase their capacity and the potential impact of future interventions. We are also working with partners to ensure they share common understandings of “tolerance” and “radicalization” and are applying do-no-harm principles in their programs. Harmoni also supports applied research on violent extremism and societal resiliencies and shares that learning in order to improve programming among an array of stakeholders.
MSI is well-known for its countering violent extremism expertise. We have created the Guide to the Drivers of Violent Islamist Extremism and Development Assistance and Counter-Extremism: A Guide to Programming, both of which are widely used across the development community.