Central Asia—Support for Stable Societies (CASSS); Countering Violent Extremism in Central Asia Activity (CVECA)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2018-2027

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Regional

Solutions: Fragile States

The Central Asia Support for Stable Societies (CASSS) activity identified and tested new methods for the prevention of violent extremism in Central Asia. The activity conducted field and digital research to identify risk and prevention factors for violent extremism. Based on the research results, the activity worked closely with civil society organizations (CSOs) in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to design and test developing evidence-based, practical approaches that broadened understandings of how to address violent extremism risk reduction pilot programming.

CASSS applied a public health model to research, design, pilot, and evaluate CVE programming across digital and real-world environments, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Through CASSS, the team came to understand how violent extremism dynamics are changing and what evidence-based interventions will be most effective in addressing violent extremism.

Based on that understanding, the Countering Violent Extremism in Central Asia Activity (CVECA), which began in 2022, empowers and capacitates individuals, families, and communities to navigate the violent extremist threat as it evolves across five countries in Central Asia.

CVECA assists hotspot communities to build resilient ecosystems that reduce risk and enhance protection against violent extremism. This assistance includes building legacy networks of women leaders with the skills and standing to lead change, academics, and organizations with enhanced capacity to analyze shifting threats and communities with systems of inclusion that promote social cohesion inclusive of marginalized populations.

Sample Activities

  • Increase support services facilitated by community leaders to vulnerable individuals and families.
  • Train psychologists and mental health professionals to provide at-risk individuals with mental health and psychosocial services, with a particular focus on preventing and countering violent extremism.
  • Form issue-based champions for change groups that bring together women leaders from nongovernmental and civil society organizations.

Select Results

  • CASSS published an article highlighting grantee Tarjumon.uz, a local media company. Tarjumon.uz developed Ali’s Adventures, an Uzbek-language cartoon that highlights positive parenting and healthy familial relations in a contemporary family. The cartoon reached 1,128 students and 369 parents, aiming to help young people develop stronger support networks and reduce their susceptibility to radicalization.
  • CASSS conducted a mixed-methods research design with field research and online research components. The activity completed data collection in December 2019 and reported all research results by May 2020. Based on these results, the activity developed a Central Asian Violent Extremism Risk Framework to guide programming.
  • In Kazakhstan, CASSS partnered with CSO IDEA Foundation to develop and test a PVE curriculum for technical and vocational education and training colleges. Piloting with 75 students in Zhezkazgan showed that the curriculum led to significant reductions in perceptions of marginalization and significant improvements in critical thinking and self-esteem.
  • In the Kyrgyz Republic, CASSS partnered with the Foundation for Tolerance International to implement a mentorship program for at-risk youth in hotspot communities across the country. The program was expanded to include 102 mentees.


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