This study evaluated the Global Citizen’s Forum (GCF), a peer gate-keeping program, in terms of its effectiveness in preventing violent extremism (VE) in a school setting.
The World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE) developed GCF in response to an NIJ-funded research that indicated a peer gate-keeping program would be a promising tool to address violent extremism (VE) among youth. GCF is an after-school program for high school youth that focuses on preventing violent behaviors. The purpose of the current research was to determine 1) whether GCF offers effective youth gate-keeper training to address VE and 2) whether others can replicate the GCF program in their communities. The evaluation considered short-term effects on participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and gate-keeper effectiveness in countering VE. It also conducted a cost analysis and examined all components of GCF implementation to develop a replication framework. The GCF study relied on quasi-experimental design with pre/post testing of treatment and control groups, focus group discussions, analysis of implementation observations, and a financial cost analysis. The survey instrument followed established elements of a gate-keeper training evaluation, drawing on instruments used by others to evaluate gate-keeper training programs in other areas. The GCF program was implemented in two private high schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland from February to May 2019. This report acknowledges that the results of this evaluation should not be considered reliable or conclusive for reasons cited; therefore, the findings should be interpreted as preliminary, requiring further testing and validation by a larger study. The preliminary findings suggest that GCF is associated with some statistically significant gains in participants’ knowledge and attitude; however, it may be difficult to replicate due to community sensitivities about accepting the VE threat and the ability of service providers to teach the GCF curriculum. 3 tables, 9 references, and appended study instruments