Peacebuilding through economic development
IS/ISIS and its ilk promise a better society for current and future generations through its narrative of change under its Caliphate. Individuals at the sharp end are desperate for social change and will buy into whosoever promises a better future state for them and their family. President Obama and PM Cameron both talk about a generational struggle against extremism, yet we do little to empower the marginalised working poor to build a better future for themselves, their family and their community.
It is not only the West that is embroiled in a generational struggle against a poisonous brand of Islamic extremism, the front line in this struggle is in the East (in the Middle East, in Africa and in South Asia) where this poisonous narrative has taken deep roots.
The things we take for granted in developed economies; governance, regulations, access to institutions, resources both public and private to guide us and assist us, be it starting up small business or awareness of our rights. These privileges and safety nets are non-existent at the sharp end in conflict affected developing economies.
The citizens of these developing countries are not oblivious to the fact that it is the role of the state to provide such services and the state's inability to do so has them seeking governmental and social transformation, individuals the world over chase the opportunity to build a better life/future for themselves, their family and community.
People the world over want a life of prosperity, progress and peace not jihad, but the lack of a progressive transformation has given IS/ISIS an opportunity to exploit with a false hope of a better future under their Caliphate.
What is required is for us to engage with the 'at risk' populous and course correct the social transformation that is already in motion. A small team with limited resources at Peace Through Prosperity has been engaged with marginalised individuals to empower them to build a better future for themselves, their family and communities; giving them the confidence of being the catalyst for transformation of their ecosystem. The team is achieving phenomenal results; the aim is to ensure IS/ISIS and its ilk have fewer and fewer individuals to radicalise both at home and abroad.
Peace Through Prosperity engages with marginalised and alienated individuals to ensure they have good reason to turn their backs on radicalisation and violent extremism, to condemn such acts rather than glorify them and their perpetrators. Just as IS is able to exploit moments when we let our guard down we avail the opportunities in the ecosystem to alienate IS/ISIS in its own environment from the indigenous population.
It is peacebuilding through economic / enterprise development at the grass roots.