This EPD project addresses potential lack of will for countering insecurity and violent extremism as a driver of conflict. While rights-based and peace building approaches have inherent value, a more practical approach that puts violent extremism into financial and economic terms can demonstrate to local leaders the development, human capital, and economic prosperity their community loses in the context of insecurity, and demonstrate to government actors at the local, subnational, and national level the costs of violent extremism in terms of GDP, revenue collection, investment ratio, and human capital. This approach serves to augment existing tools for promoting peace in terms of awareness raising and peace training, advocacy, conflict resolution, and research. Aside from analysis in terms of security sector expenditure and loss of human life, there has been no previous effort to promote countering violent extremism a priority on the basis of financial and economic costs. This project aims to fill this gap.
EPD conducted a research on the financial and economic costs of extremism in seven provinces of Afghanistan such as Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat, Bamyan, Kandahar, Faryab and Kunduz, as well as, developed a comprehensive research report. Based on the findings of the research, an advocacy toolkit was prepared to mobilize support for peacebuilding and countering violent extremism. Furthermore, EPD also held three-day trainings for Provincial Women’s Network (PWN) members in mentioned provinces to introduce the advocacy toolkit. On the last day of the trainings, representatives were appointed to lead dialogues at the community and provincial levels. Moreover, on 19th October 2015, EPD held a national dialogue and launch event to share main findings of the report. PWNs’ of EPD in seven provinces (Kabul, Bamyan, Herat, Kunduz, Kandahar, Faryab and Nangarhar) and ACTA in four provinces (Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat and Bamyan) regularly hold their monthly meetings, advocate for resolution of problems and monitor activities at the community-level. So far a total of nine monthly meetings have been held by ACTA and PWNs’ in each province.