Movement with Gangsters

This project aims to encourage the Somali Youth Gangs' "Positive Reintegration" toward society as DDR-CVE Reintegration and to prevent them from radicalizing. We have to empower 'unnoticed youth' in the world to realize our better future. 

【The Origin of the Project/What is "Movement with Gangsters"?】

Today, Kenya faces numerous terrorists’ threats by the Somali extremists and often Somali gangs cause these dreadful problems. Many of the Somali gangs are young boys and often girls aged 15-25 years old, called "Youth" generation. They are the main subject of theft and cases of bodily injury in the society. Due to the current situation of them and the possibility of becoming terrorists in their near future, they get detested and excluded from the society.


Despite such infamous state of being, Somali Youth gangs are undoubtedly "Youth" and have a huge potential to become a positive/helpful member of the society. They hold the future for the utility of today's society and it is wrong to judge them for who they are or where they belong. They are the people who should be empowered, "True Youth". 


This is where we, JSYO, come in to play. We are the sole actors, who can approach to the youth gangs as the same "Youth" and accept their current situation. From this point of view, we JSYO empower and encourage them as their "fellow" to notice that they are the key players who change the society and the world, and take actions actively toward the society so that they can reintegrate by themselves. This Somali Youth gangs' "Positive Reintegration," different from the typical reintegration's meaning in DDR (like job creation) in terms of involving their positive will, can contribute to the improvement of the security problem in the community and also the prevention of the terrorism.


To conduct this project smoothly and successfully, we're cooperating with available local NGOs and government officials. And this project holds up thanks to the a lot of funds in Japan.


【Goal/Objective of the Project】

To encourage and support youth gangs to change their way of thinking and to be youth leaders, in order to reintegrate them into the society and to prevent further radicalization.

【Estimated Benefits】

1) Turn Somali Youth Gangs to "youth", who are the main actors of solving the issues in communities and the world

2) Make the peace and order in the area, and preventing terrorism in Kenya and Somalia

3) Empower the Youth participating in this project as the main actor in the society


【Structure of the Project】

"Movement with Gangsters" is consisted of 'Program Session' and 'Skill Training Session. 'Program Session' includes three contents: ①Workshop ②Taking Action ③Closing Ceremony. This session is conducted at the beginning of the project for 3 or 4 days. The other one, 'Skill Training Session' includes ①Skill Training and ②Monitoring phases, which are held while five months after the Closing Ceremony, followed by Life Skills Training and Job Negotiation. By conducting this project in accordance with the structure, we can approach the complicated  Youth Gang issue more efficiently and persistently. We gather 15 Somali Youth Gangs at once, and all sessions are conducted by not only us but also our cooperating international organizations and youth groups.


Through this process, we aim at the Youth Gangs' "Positive Reintegration," which means the Reintegration with their will to take actions to the society as "Youths."



◆Program Session◆


In the WORKSHOP, we provide some lectures about a lot of issues surrounding the Youth Gangs and have the discussion with them about the accurate solutions which they can do themselves toward the issues. Through this program, we make the gangs notice that they are the "main actor" of solving those matters and reintegrating into the society by themselves as "Youth."


TAKING ACTION (Volunteer Activity as 'youth' not 'gang')

In this section, we realize some of the solutions which the Gangs have let by themselves in Workshop. By providing the opportunity for them to take the concrete actions to the society, we aim to give the feeling and experience as a "Youth". We generally hold, for example, morale education for the young children who have a high risk to be a youth gang, cleaning street in the district and making some script for helping the society realize the mechanism how youth gangs bear.


CLOSING CEREMONY with Certification

After the TAKING ACTION session, we certificate the Gangs in order to praise for their independent actions in the TAKING ACTION and to recognize their changes from gang to civilian and youth leader. In this ceremony, not only JSYO members but also the security chiefs of the Eastleigh district, Japanese government authorities in Kenya, and the staffs of the local NGOs praise the Gangs. Through this process, the gangs can notice that they can be accepted by the society if they take some actions positively and legally.


◆Skill Training Session◆

Skill Training

For the purpose of supporting their positive and independent attitude for reintegration, we give them some practical skills, for example, computer skill, language skill, accounting skill. This section is conducted by cooperating NGOs which has come free education cause.


Monitoring and Counselling

For the purpose of monitoring their attitude's change and continuing to stimulate their mind after program session, we counsel them one by one once a month. Through the checking list, we ask them their daily life after the program. Sometimes we gather them and give some lectures from guest speakers.


Life Skills Training and Employment Support

Throughout the project term, we provide various life skills with participates and negotiate private sectors regarding our labor market research with them. Reintegration related preventing violent extremism requires strategic long-term reintegration approach, and those supports are for such purpose.


【The Details of the Project】

◆The M/Gs vol.6 (Program Section)


The 6th session of the project “Movement with The 6th session of the project “Movement with Gangsters,” hosted during the 9th semiannual field activity was a kick-off of the second generation of this project. While continuing with the aiding of the gang members’ ‘proactive reintegration into society,’ the second generation also includes the new purpose of ‘preventing their further radicalization.’


 ◆Purpose of M/G vol.6 (Program Session)

Making Somali Youth Gangs participate in the project;

・have the self-awareness as “YOUTH,” the main actor to change the society in near future

・notice they can improve their situations by themselves through taking legal actions to the society

・notice the existence of social actors, including us JSYO, who accept them


◆Contents of the project

We took four days for the project with 31 participants (21 new participants, 6 ‘staff’ participants, and 4 ‘volunteer’ participants)



During the discussions that took place during the 1st and 2nd days, the participants discussed various issues surrounding them – including lack of employment opportunities and education, discrimination from society, and drugs – and shared ideas about their thoughts including background, causes, and possible solutions to each issue. First-time participants, who felt hopeless about changing their situation were able to come up with ideas on overcoming the difficulties with the staff participants’ support. The conclusion the participants agreed on was that, “these issues all come from the same one issue – lack of understanding from society about our situation,” which led to hosting a youth conference between themselves and other youths living in Eastleigh for the “take action” on the 3rd day.


②Youth Conference (Day3)

 This youth conference was hosted with the purpose to change the Eastleigh citizens’ understanding toward the participants and lessen the discrimination towards them. 

③Closing Ceremony

On the last day of the project, we carried out new programs , such as ‘life-skill lessons,’ where participants learned how to live life as a youth and not a gang member, ‘drug rehabilitation program,’ and ‘employment support,’ where information was provided in order to aid the participants’ employment.

The closing ceremony was held afterward in order to praise the participants’ positive action towards society. In the ceremony, we gave them certification and some money, and through this process, we, as general society, indicated that we would accept and support their positive actions to reintegrate into the society.


◆Results of the project

Through M/G vol.6 (Program Section), we could achieve the following results;

①We could make the participants realize their self-awareness as “YOUTH.”

②We could teach them that it is important for them not to be against the society but to have positive attitude toward ,and give them experience that they can get proper consequence through discussing with it.

③We could confirm that the participants who have taken part in our projects in several times, worked hard and positively as a staff.

④Through the youth conference, We could change youths in Eastleigh who are not gangs,to accepting gangs. ” hosted during the 9th semiannual field activity was a kick-off of the second generation of this project. While continuing with the aiding of the gang members’ ‘proactive reintegration into society,’ the second generation also includes the new purpose of ‘preventing their further radicalization.’