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Kenya: ICITAP-EMPoWER Collaborates with Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program to Host First Working Group Event Focused on Countering Terrorism in Kenya

On February 8, ICITAP’s Engaging Multinational Policewomen on Equality and Rights (EMPoWER) program, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) Program, hosted a working group session with law enforcement officers from diverse agencies driving counterterrorism efforts in Kenya. The meeting counted with the attendance of individuals from the following units: Joint Terrorism Task Force-Kenya; All-Female SWAT Team; the Directorate of Criminal Investigations; International Peace Support Training Centre; National Counterterrorism Center; Administration Police Service- Kenya; Kenya Police Service; Anti-terrorism Police Unit; Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Team Lioness. In addition, the attendees were joined by representatives from the Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism (DOS/CT), the U.S. Army Civil Military Support Element in Kenya, and the Deputy Regional Security Officer. This first meeting of the working group marks the beginning of a year-long collaboration between EMPoWER and ATA that seeks to provide tailored training for the group of 20 individuals identified. Leadership, mentorship, gender-sensitization, self-management, collection of digital evidence, the role of women in preventing and countering violent extremism, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters, community engagement, and the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime were some of the thematic areas identified through a needs assessment exercise. Participants expressed the desire to gain a holistic understanding of terrorism-related concepts and to develop a broader awareness of mechanism to counter existing and emergent threats in their communities. The EMPoWER-ATA initiative also intends to promote collaboration across multiple agencies comprising the security sector in Kenya to bolster their capacity to act in unison to prevent the spread of terrorist activities in the country and region. Participants highlighted results from a previous EMPoWER-ATA collaboration during the Women in Security Symposium in Kenya in 2022, noting that some of those present had received promotions and that “EMPoWER had enabled [them] to open up [their] minds and recognize what [they] lacked and where [they] wished to be in the future”. EMPoWER looks forward to working closely with ATA and offices within Kenya’s security sector to build a more professional criminal justice system that can effectively contribute in the fight against terrorism.

Updated July 17, 2023