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Review Article

The disregard of mothers’ knowledge and experiences in violent extremism discourse in Kenya

Beatrice Kizi Nzovuemail-imageBeatrice Kizi Nzovu

Beatrice Kizi Nzovu is a Team Leader in the Africa Country Programmes at the Life & Peace Institute and a PhD candidate at the African Women Studies Centre, University of Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Peacebuilding, an MA in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation from the European University Centre for Peace Studies, Austria‘ and a BA in Sociology from Maseno University, Kenya. Her research interests are in the areas of women’s resilience to violent extremism; peacebuilding; conflict transformation; feminist theory; policy analysis; community development; governance in Africa; and women, peace and security.

email-image bnzovu@gmail.com

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orcid-imageFatuma Ahmed Aliemail-imageFatuma Ahmed Ali

Fatuma Ahmed Ali is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the United States International University–Africa. She is the director of the Gender and Responding to Violent Extremism Network. Her research interests include gender and violent extremism, preventing/countering violent extremism, women and war, African–Islamic feminism, women’s agency, gender analysis, peace and security in the Horn of Africa, conflict-related sexual violence and labour migration/displacements in Africa. ;

email-image fmali@usiu.ac.ke

Abstract

This article argues for the inclusion of women’s epistemology in discourse about violent extremism and approaches to tackling it in Kenya. It focuses on mothers of male recruits to violent extremist organisations, arguing that, although mothers have critical insights to offer, their knowledge and experiences remain unacknowledged and unheard in Kenyan responses to violent extremism. Although women, including mothers, are understood to be useful contributors to the fight against violent extremism, their voices remain peripheral in masculinised discourses and actions. This article uses an African feminist theoretical approach, informed by ‘Motherism’, and gendered peace – as well as security frameworks including UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR 1325 and 2242) on women, peace and security and women’s inclusion in efforts to address violent extremism – to argue that policy development and implementation processes in Kenya have failed to capture the meaningful contributions that recruits’ mothers can make to addressing violent extremism.

Keywords

African feminismviolent extremismwomenknowledgeexclusion
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Published on: 22 June 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 1
Article ID: 083
Pages:83 - 102
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© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Nzovu with Ali (2023), ' The disregard of mothers’ knowledge and experiences in violent extremism discourse in Kenya ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 1): 083 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s1.083

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Thematic article

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The disregard of mothers’ knowledge and experiences in violent extremism discourse in Kenya

Beatrice Kizi Nzovuemail-imageBeatrice Kizi Nzovu

Beatrice Kizi Nzovu is a Team Leader in the Africa Country Programmes at the Life & Peace Institute and a PhD candidate at the African Women Studies Centre, University of Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Peacebuilding, an MA in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation from the European University Centre for Peace Studies, Austria‘ and a BA in Sociology from Maseno University, Kenya. Her research interests are in the areas of women’s resilience to violent extremism; peacebuilding; conflict transformation; feminist theory; policy analysis; community development; governance in Africa; and women, peace and security.

email-image bnzovu@gmail.com

,
orcid-imageFatuma Ahmed Aliemail-imageFatuma Ahmed Ali

Fatuma Ahmed Ali is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the United States International University–Africa. She is the director of the Gender and Responding to Violent Extremism Network. Her research interests include gender and violent extremism, preventing/countering violent extremism, women and war, African–Islamic feminism, women’s agency, gender analysis, peace and security in the Horn of Africa, conflict-related sexual violence and labour migration/displacements in Africa. ;

email-image fmali@usiu.ac.ke