Beyond Ideology and Greed – Trajectories of Young People towards New Forms of Violence in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali

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Ideology or unemployment can’t explain young people’s engagement in new forms of violence. Unlike widely accepted ideas, Interpeace research shows these elements to be largely incidental.

Generally analyzed through the lenses of Radicalization or Violent Extremism, dynamics of young people engagement in new forms of violence is the focus of growing international scrutiny, especially in West Africa. However, as this interest grows, we realize that our current understandings doesn’t allow us to fully grasp the phenomenon’s complexity. Furthermore, youth in question is rarely associated to the analyses, even less so to the solutions development. Therefore, the solutions proposed can only be partial or ineffective.

These Report and Film are the result of a Participatory Research led by Interpeace, togheter with its partners IMRAP and Indigo Cote d’Ivoire. Supported by UNICEF, it describes how societies and dynamics surronding young people in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire structure the trajectories of some of the latter towards violence. Ideology (namely religious) appears less like a decisive motivation, but rather as a legitimation discourse a posteriori. Likewise, unemployment and greed, althought they remain of importance, are not pivotal. They are rather illustrative elements of youth need to find their place in their society, to be recognized and valued, to feel like they are contributing.

Read the Executive Summary here and the Report (in French) here.

Photo credit: Aboubacar Traore