Mothers present a missing link in preventing the spread of violent extremism. Their unparalleled physical and emotional proximity make them witnesses of every stage in their child’s development. While mothers have the potential to intervene in the initial stages of the radicalisation process, often they lack the essential knowledge and self-confidence to recognise and address the warning signs in their sons and daughters. Women without Borders (WwB) began introducing the notion of Mothers Preventing Violent Extremism (MPVE) in the context of its SAVE network of projects and initiatives from 2008. Responding to its research study findings from surveys and interviews with 1023 mothers across five countries, WwB developed and designed the pioneering ‘MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace’ Model. When put into practice, this bottom-up prevention approach positions concerned and affected mothers as the first line of defence in at-risk communities. The curriculum strengthens the participant’s individual capacity, capability, and emotional literacy, and heightens her awareness of radical influences. WwB has been advancing local and regional security through contextualised iterations of the programme, and to date has engaged over two thousand mothers in twelve countries across Western and Eastern Europe; Central, South, and Southeast Asia; the Middle East; and Sub-Saharan Africa. MotherSchools also upgrade existing social services and local capacity by providing civil society stakeholders in at-risk regions with the essential structures, tools, and skills to address and counteract extremist ideologies. Owing to its proven track record, WwB’s MotherSchools Model has emerged as a recognised good practice and contributed to rethinking and reshaping countering and preventing violent extremism (P/CVE) policy worldwide.


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