International Association for Human Values (IAHV)
IAHV’s programme on Preventing and Transforming Violent Extremism is managed by the IAHV UK branch, which runs the global Peacebuilding Programmes for IAHV. IAHV UK Charity nr: 1103261 Financing: A 3-year IAHV project on preventing extremism among war-affected children in Jordan and Lebanon is currently being implemented with support from EIDHR (Global Call).
IAHV programmes in different countries are funded by private donations, trusts and foundations, and corporate and governmental funds.
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IAHV advocates for a radically new paradigm of how we understand and deal with violent extremism. The approach is fundamentally human, situated in a broader peacebuilding framework, and tackles the psycho-social roots of the challenge. IAHV Peacebuilding programmes bring about a profound, self-sustaining transformation in attitude, mindset, well-being and behaviour of individuals and communities involved or affected by violence and extremism, inspire and train participants to use non-violent means to achieve legitimate needs, and mobilise them to become effective peacebuilders in their own communities.
IAHV programmes use a comprehensive set of processes and tools facilitating physical, mental, emotional and existential changes, as such positively transforming well-being, attitudes, behaviours and relationships.
Figure 1: IAHV model of intrapersonal transformation
IAHV uses a holistic approach to personal transformation that addresses the physical to deeply existential layers, transcending the strictly cognitive. On the physical level, it provides deep stress release and relaxation, increases energy levels, and improves overall physical health and well-being. On the emotional level, it releases strong negative emotions, fosters more positive and life-supporting emotions, and increases emotional resilience. On the mental level, it calms tension and worries in the mind, improves clarity of mind and concentration, reduces the impact of negative or traumatic memories, and fosters a more positive mindset.
When individuals are able to release stress and negative emotions, calm their worries and expel tensions from the mind – and are thus positively established within themselves – it is reflected in their behaviour, relationships and outlook towards the world. Building on restored mental and emotional well-being, IAHV programmes apply a set of pedagogical methods and strategies (processes, knowledge, discussions, games, practical tools) to strengthen self-confidence, explore a broadened and shared self-identity, inculcate human values, improve non-violent conflict resolution, address issues of trust, fear, suspicion and hatred, reduce resentment, build connectedness, and reinforce healthy attitudes and skills for peaceful coexistence.
On a behavioural level, this subsequently leads to a diminished need for negative coping strategies, improved communication and life skills to handle challenging situations, as well as a reduced inclination towards harmful behaviour towards themselves or others. This can manifest in reduced frequency and severity of violent incidents, criminal activity, substance abuse and aggression. Similarly, individuals feel more resilient against peer pressures, overwhelming emotions, discriminatory behaviours, intimidation or recruitment.
It is commonly understood that violent radicalisation happens at the intersection between an enabling environment and a personal trajectory. IAHV programmes focus explicitly on the personal and relational aspects involved, and to a lesser extent on social, political or geopolitical aspects. Among the psycho-social drivers of violent extremism, as identified through research of best practices and approaches, IAHV addresses in particular the following:
The strength of IAHV’s programmes lies in the integrative approach towards empowerment, addressing different individual and relational aspects such as:
When our inner world is disturbed, our impact in society is more likely to be neutral or negative in terms of disengagement, frustration, anger, disappointment, radicalisation, disrespect, violence, depression or resistance. Individuals who are well established in themselves, healed and empowered, are more likely to bring a positive contribution to different aspects of society and to play a peace-enhancing role in their communities and institutions. Healing and empowerment support individuals to develop interpersonally and inside communities, creating more inclusive relationships and greater community resilience to radicalisation and violence. In this process, IAHV fosters a strong, experiential foundation of universal human values to support more positive discernment and decision-making.
Restoring peace at every level well beyond the cognitive, IAHV programmes are deeply empowering, life affirming and truly holistic.
Working inclusively across affected populations and stages of radicalisation
IAHV’s programmes to prevent and transform violent extremism and radicalisation are applicable across personality types, ideologies and contexts, and across all stages, from prevention to intervention, rehabilitation and reintegration. We work with all individuals and communities directly or indirectly, actively or passively affected by violence and extremism, including:
former extremists, ex-combatants, militants, prisoner populations, gangs, convicted terrorists, radicalised youth, affected communities and relatives, social/youth/prevention workers, survivors of violence/terrorist attacks.
Systemic approach in collaboration with ongoing initiatives
IAHV’s expertise, combined with identified best practices from the field in an inclusive, integrative approach, can lay a strong psycho-social foundation to complement and strengthen ongoing initiatives.
IAHV programmes and training include:
In addition to PCVE, YLPT includes:
REX addresses psycho-social gaps in existing reintegration and DDR (Demobilization and Reintegration) infrastructure, including but not limited to: post-traumatic stress; addiction; mistrust and alienation; depression, apathy and perceptive disempowerment; victimisation and an inability to take responsibility for past acts or current behaviour; negative emotions such as anger, blame and a desire for revenge; cognitive reliance on violence to achieve power or fulfil feelings of masculinity; and other identity challenges related to re-entry.
In addition, the REX programme empowers participants to identify and achieve their goals in a non-violent way, helping them re-enter society as contributing and peaceful members.
Ideally, each training programme is supported by a tailored 3 to 12-month follow-up period, in which participants engage in ongoing learning or implement local violence prevention projects.
A description of our approach is available in the following brochure.
An overview of video testimonials from participants.