Since the intervention of Kenya Community Support Centre through the Building Partnerships for peace and security for countering violent extremism project in Mombasa County, youth have been engaged in challenge activities which involves voluntary clean up exercise together with the police and government officers. The whole idea of the exercise is to build confidence and relations between the police and youth as they interact. It has also provided a good platform for the youth to be aware of the roles of police and administrative security officers including the chiefs.
For a very long time youth within Mombasa have neglected and never trust the office of their chiefs within their locations, this is due to majority of youth being harassed especially when they are processing identity cards. This has contributed to youth losing confidence in report incidence to the administration and also others not knowing their area chiefs offices.
As one makes their way into Garsen town the sight of booming khat business does not fail to capture one’s attention. This is so especially on the designated market days of Wednesday and Saturday where public service vehicles from as far as Garissa and Mombasa arriving at the town would have both men and women flocking around them to get a piece of the precious commodity. The vendors of the miraa are among the first to get to the commodity so that they can make bumper sales out of it. One such vendor is Halima Juma, from Bilisa location.
As the sun rises and gives life to a new day, it gives much more than life to Ann Rose. It gives an opportunity for her to pursue what has now become a responsibility to her, an opportunity to counter violent extremism among the youth in her resident area of Nyali Sub County in Mombasa. Ann kick starts this day by logging onto the social media platforms armed with sufficient knowledge to counter narratives on these sites that are being used to radicalize youth into joining terror groups, a job that she been doing for 5 months now.
As you walk through the narrow streets of old town towards the adjacent coral beach of the Indian Ocean, the scenes remind you of a heritage and culture passed down across generations. Next to narow cul-de-saacs you find Barazas that have been resting places for old men as they reminiscent gone days. Today these Barazas have been turned in to youth Maskaans(chill spots) and dens for recruitment of youth in to radical gangs and terrorist organization. The once peaceful and picturesque tourist attraction town is now a deadly labyrinth of crime and fear. Gangs such as the Mawaiyo, watalia have taken over Old town, these gangs comprise of youth between 13 to 19 years.