Author Biography

Dr. Sara Savage is a social psychologist based in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. For the previous 15 years Sara worked as Senior Research Associate in the Psychology and Religion Research Group at Cambridge, during which she and her colleagues developed a unique intervention to address extremism. Sara continues to develop empirically based interventions to prevent extremism and inter-group violence through programmes that operationalise and measure the construct of Integrative Complexity (Suedfeld 2010), such as Being Muslim Being British, IC in Scotland (I SEE) and Conflict Transformation, published in a number of empirical articles and chapters. The IC model is now being extended to a range of countries, extremisms and inter-group conflicts, supported by continual empirical assessment and training (www.ICTcambridge.org).



Subject Area Keywords

Africa, Identity, Psychology, Radicalization, Violent extremism


Being Kenyan Being Muslim (BKBM) is an intervention that counters violent extremism and other forms of intergroup conflict through promoting value complexity. BKBM was trialled in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya with a group of twenty-four participants of Kenyan and Somali ethnicities; eight participants were identified as vulnerable to extremism, six of these were former al Shabaab members. This article provides an empirical assessment of the effectiveness of the BKBM course. The new BKBM course follows the structure of the Being Muslim Being British course that exposes participants to the multiplicity of value priorities that influential Muslims embody, and structures group activities that allow participants to explore all value positions on issues central to extremist discourse and relevant to events in Kenya, free from criticism or social pressure. The intervention, a sixteen-contact-hour course using films and group activities that enable participants to problem solve on extremism-related topics according to a broad array of their own values, was pre and post tested with twenty-four participants (twenty-two of whom completed the full assessments), (mean age 29.6, SD = 6.27). As hypothesized, Integrative Complexity (IC) increased significantly by the end of the course in written verbal data, and there was clear evidence of ability to perceive some validity in different viewpoints (achieving differentiation) in all oral participant presentations at the end of the course.


This project was funded by USAID and organized by the Kenya Transition Initiative. Sincere thanks go to USAID, the KTI staff and all the participants, and to Cambridge University Technical Services for their administrative support.