A group of 30 members from six project districts – Ampara, Batticaloa, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kandy and Kurunegala - and 16 staff members from NPC and Helvetas took part in the activity carried out as a hybrid training with an international trainer and inputs from local and international resource persons. Participants also joined in virtually from NPC and from the project implementing team in Bangladesh.
Appearing on Zoom Patrick Burgess, the international trainer, used six sessions to educate and update the participants on practical PVE knowledge that can be used as a training tool at the district level. Mr. Burgess is an international human rights, transitional justice and preventing violent extremism (PVE) expert and co-founder and President of Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR.) Participants for the training were selected after an application process and interviews to verify their ability to understand violent extremism and its processes and their interest in taking the knowledge gained to the district level as trainers. They included religious leaders, government officials, youth members and partners.
The training programmes included such topics as increasing understanding of violent extremism, how violent extremists recruits followers, preventing violent extremism and creating a plan for preventing violent extremism in communities.
“As a person working in the prison system, the training was a great help to gain both theoretical and practical understanding of violent extremism. It added depth to my rudimentary knowledge on violent extremism. I hope to use this knowledge not only as a training tool but also to better understand how extremism is enabled within prison systems,” said A. W. Sarath Athukorala, a prison officer in Kurunegala.
“Through the training, we were able to enhance our knowledge on violent extremism. My team from Vavuniya gained a good understanding on practical training methods to address violent extremism. We can use this knowledge and methods to address issues in our localities,” said Sutharshani Sugiharan from Vauniya.