Education, Civic Engagement and Youth Support for Violence in Fragile States: Evidence from Somaliland

Abstract

We examine whether opportunities for civic engagement mediate the effect of access to education on political violence. In fragile states, solely providing education may be necessary, but not sufficient, to reduce violence. Access to schooling can generate unintended grievances against the government. We argue that combining access to education with opportunities for civic participation helps youths to use and trust nonviolent channels to engage with their communities and address their grievances, minimizing the risk of conflict. To test our argument of the interactive effect of education and civic participation we leverage a unique education program implemented in partnership with the Government of Somalia. Using original data from a survey of 800 young people, as well as qualitative interviews, we find support our argument. This article provides new empirical evidence of the role of civic engagement in promoting political stability in fragile states.

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