Countering Islamic Radicalization in Northern Mozambique: Radio Campaigning and Targeted Messages

Last registered on December 03, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Countering Islamic Radicalization in Northern Mozambique: Radio Campaigning and Targeted Messages
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008626
Initial registration date
November 29, 2021
Last updated
December 03, 2021, 9:58 AM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Royal Holloway, University of London

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Nova School of Business and Economics
PI Affiliation
Nova School of Business and Economics

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-05-03
End date
2022-07-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Abstract
In recent years, most of the major violent conflicts in the world have happened in Muslim-majority countries. Of these conflicts, a substantial and increasing share is related to Islamist insurgents. However, the process of radicalization and the effectiveness of measures to counteract it are widely understudied. We study how a radio campaign and targeted voice messages can help prevent conflict. The interventions are part of a radio campaign sponsored by local religious organizations that want to detach religion (namely Islam) from the mobilization of young men for violent attacks. Contents are sponsored by the Islamic Council and the Islamic Congress of Mozambique, the main organizations representing Muslims in the country, as well as the Catholic and Christian councils. Our setting is Northern Mozambique, where a substantial discovery of natural gas took place in recent years. Beginning in 2017, a series of violent attacks, mainly targeting civilians, has been happening in this region, resulting in more than 1000 casualties and 200,000 displaced to date. There are many accounts of the mobilization of youths to join these attacks based on radicalized Islamic beliefs, although there is no record, in recent history, of contentious religious divisions in Mozambique. This provides a unique setting in which sources of radicalization can be studied.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Armand, Alex, Pedro C. Vicente and Ines Vilela. 2021. "Countering Islamic Radicalization in Northern Mozambique: Radio Campaigning and Targeted Messages." AEA RCT Registry. December 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8626-1.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We evaluate a radio campaign sponsored by local religious organizations that want to detach religion (namely Islam) from the mobilization of young men for violent attacks. Contents are sponsored by the Islamic Council and the Islamic Congress of Mozambique, the main organizations representing Muslims in the country, as well as the Christian Council. The messages are short interventions by the religious leaders of each of the organizations promoting peace and reiterating how their religion is against violence. The messages were the same across the radios with one main distinction. In half of the radios, the campaign only included messages from the Muslim leaders, while in the other half there were messages from all the religions (Muslim and Christian). For the design, we take advantage of the campaign and the random variation in the supporters of the peaceful message and the dispersion of the radio signal across space. We also add to the radio campaign a targeted phone-based campaign, where in some villages citizens receive the same messages as in the radio campaign on their mobile phones. The targeted messages have two objectives. First, to increase exposure of villagers to the peaceful message. Second, to compare the effectiveness of two alternative channels to deliver information campaigns.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-13
Intervention End Date
2021-11-12

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcomes are: support for extremist ideas, perceived grievances, support and trust, prejudice/acceptance, anti-social behaviour, cooperation and willingness to cooperate, violence and support for peace.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See pre-analysis plan.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
For the radio campaign, empirical identification will follow the strategy described in Section 5. We exploit the expansion of the campaign, and quasi-random variation in the topography-corrected signal coverage from the 8 antennas in the province. We will measure radio coverage corrected by the topography of the affected area, and exploit the panel dimension of the dataset by controlling for time-invariant unobservable characteristics at a highly disaggregated level. We will make use of detailed data on the location of radios in the province made available by the provincial authorities and the information on the type of message that was broadcasted (Muslim and Christian or only Muslim). Finally, we will calculate for each village in the sample the maximum quality of the signal by all the antennas.
Quasi-random variation in the message is not limited to topography-corrected variation in the signal coverage, but it also includes random variation in the message broadcast. In half of the radios (randomly selected), the campaign only included messages from the Muslim leaders, while in the other half there were messages from all the religions (Muslim and Christian).
Concerning targeted messages, before implementing the randomization procedure, we group villages into blocks of three according to the Mahalanobis-distance. We use the following information: the sample size at each village (proxy for village size), the maximum signal coverage at each village and the district. For each block we will randomly allocate each village to one of the groups: i) Muslim and Christian message; ii) Muslim message; iii) control.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Village/community level
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
146 villages/communities
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,400
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Muslim targeted messages: 56 villages; Muslim+Christian targeted messages: 55; Control: 56
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Scientific Council at Nova School of Business and Economics
IRB Approval Date
2020-07-20
IRB Approval Number
N/A
Analysis Plan

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