This Impact Evaluation Report of the Gulf Strategy GCC Countering Violent Extremism Fellowship programme is based on the pilot programme launched in March 2016 and the regional follow-up meeting for the pilot phase in March 2017.
The report comprises of the following sections:
Section I: The network Conference Summary and Next Steps Report
Section II: An independent evaluation of the impact of the Fellowship
Section III: Appendix
- Transcripts of the pre-conference interviews with Fellows
- Individual impact stories from Fellows compiled using the expressive writing programme
The report submitted here summarizes the high level impact of the pilot programme and its methodology of creating a peer-to-peer network of GCC Fellows. The report specifically addresses the impact at the individual level as well as at an organisational level. It is followed by a summary of recommendations should the programme continue and to build a broader base of GCC Fellows. The evidence suggests that it is possible to build a network in the Gulf, despite the many challenges. This network can act as a means of sharing UK expertise and a mechanism for UK posts to gain greater insight into extremism across the region. What is needed is an injection of resources to build the network up to around fifty people working in this space. To support projects initiated by this network and to work towards linking it to the GCC Secretariat to share or take over its funding. A key lesson is that this should be presented in the Gulf as a Fellowship in London on UK counter extremism that is open to GCC nationals nominated by their governments. The GCC network elements should be secondary in presenting the opportunity. On this basis the recruitment base can be developed and grown. It is also vital that resources are allocated in good time and that recruitment lead time of 4-5 months is allowed to cultivate interest and work with posts on identifying Fellows. Finally, that the network needs to evolve into a project-network through which direct collaboration between GCC countries can be cultivated.
The role of the Expressive Writing element in the programme was an important additional feature which should be retained and expanded. The individual testimony of the Fellows showed that it embraced as a means of building individual capacity for increasing resilience and well-being for groups at risk of radicalisation in the GCC and Iraq. It should form a central part of the methodology of these programmes going forward.
Some suggested next steps agreed by the Fellows in the recent regional meeting are proposed below – to strengthen the network and create additional impact over time.
- Network Project 1: Social media campaign pilot
- UK Fellowship 2: Second UK programme to coincide with Gulf Summit
- Research Project 1: Deliver research findings by the Founding Fellows at the next UK programme
- Country Engagement 1: To produce a concept note on UK-Kuwait co-operation on the national strategy
- Impact Report 2: To measure and outline the impact of the Fellowship