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How Women-Led CSOs are Leveraging I-KHUB Technology for Gender-Driven Prevention Efforts in Indonesia

How Women-Led CSOs are Leveraging I-KHUB Technology for Gender-Driven Prevention Efforts in Indonesia
1st December 2023 Irine Gayatri
In 16 Days, Insights

This Insight is part of GNET’s Gender and Online Violent Extremism series in partnership with Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre. This series aligns with the UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gendered Violence (25 November-10 December).

In the digital age, terrorism has transformed into a concern that impacts both human and state security. This escalation is intrinsically linked to the rapid advancements in information technology, which have facilitated greater accessibility and affordability for terrorist operations. The social media era represents a notable distinction from the preceding era, characterised by bulletin and imageboards, email, and live chats. Social media has provided a platform for individuals to articulate their viewpoints and connect with like-minded others worldwide. This has also allowed individuals with radical ideologies to disseminate their ideas and attract a global following. The emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) prompted a rapid influx of sympathisers and supporters, including from Indonesia, due to the extensive dissemination of its online propaganda.

Following the territorial defeat of ISIS in the Middle East, the group spread its influence in Southeast Asia, notably drawing particular attention from female supporters in Indonesia. These pious women extensively used social media to learn more about Islamist extremist religious ideologies and movements, fuelled by a desire for empowerment and an “increased intent to engage in a more active warrior role” in the group. As a result, the country is becoming more creative and innovative in countering the dissemination of propaganda, especially among young women vulnerable to Islamist extremist radicalisation. 

One of the latest technological breakthroughs in efforts to prevent violent extremism (VE)and sexual/gender-based violence (SGBV) in Indonesia is the I-KHUB platform which provides information, resources, and strategies to identify and counter extremist ideologies that fuel violence against women. This Insight provides an overview of how the I-KHUB platform facilitates knowledge exchange in preventing extremism and promoting gender equality and addresses the link between extremism and gender-based violence by providing comprehensive data on the intersectionality of violence within the kinship systems that are foundational to extreme violent groups in Indonesia.

Roles of Women in Terror Activities 

The increased participation of women in terrorist attacks in  Indonesia between 2016 and 2021 necessitates a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism and violent extremism that addresses their roles. Various factors contribute to women’s participation in terrorist activities. First and foremost, studies have identified that VE groups exploit traits like faithfulness and obedience that are influenced by conservative religious teachings that shape women into compliant followers within the specific cultural constructs established by hard-line Islamist organisations that use violent means to achieve their political goals. Second, women’s perceived submissive nature is leveraged as a tool to deceive law enforcement; women have been found to serve as covert communications couriers among terrorist actors. Due to traditional family responsibilities, women also support terrorist networks in logistical roles, such as providing fighters with necessities and maintaining communication with the outside world while they are in hiding. Other roles include being educators, catalysts for change, advocates, fundraisers, recruiters, logistics coordinators, clandestine intermediaries, followers, and loyal companions to male perpetrators.

Reflecting on the Indonesian context, women’s involvement in terrorist activities extends beyond supporting roles. There has been a significant rise in their engagement in combat, instructing other women, and perpetrating acts like suicide bombings. Notable incidents include the pot bomb attack in late 2016 involving three women, one of whom was the widowed wife of a terrorist from Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT/East Indonesia Mujahideen). These signify that women play significant roles and carry out various responsibilities within acts of terrorism. 

Using I-KHUB to Prevent Violent Extremism

The proliferation of internet technology has increased the mobility of female actors in transnational terrorist networks, as observed in Monash and UN Women’s 2022 report. This report analyses the effectiveness of a collaborative approach involving society, government agencies, civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in addressing and countering violent extremism. This approach is part of Indonesia’s National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. Presently, 48 ministries/agencies, local governments, and civil society organisations participate in implementing the action plan.                          

In 2021, Indonesia’s National Agency for Counterterrorism (BNPT) launched I-KHUB, a digital platform designed to facilitate program coordination and knowledge dissemination across various entities engaged in prevention efforts. The platform signifies a paradigm shift in the country’s counterterrorism strategy towards prevention program-based approaches. I-KHUB aims to serve as a large data source to enhance coordination, collaboration, and cooperation among stakeholders engaged in P/CVE efforts.  It aligns counterterrorism efforts with national objectives and improves the implementation of preventative measures in Indonesia.

I-KHUB is designed around the 3C philosophy (Coordination, Collaboration and Cooperation) and aims to consolidate knowledge and initiatives of various stakeholders involved in P/CVE efforts nationwide. These include women-led CSOs like ‘AMAN Indonesia’ (Asian Muslim Action Network), which coordinates a working group of women involved in P/CVE efforts and employs I-KHUB to mitigate the spread of violent extremism and gender-based violence in the country. Another woman-led CSO, ‘Yayasan Empatiku’, uses I-KHUB to disseminate a grassroots-based early warning system mechanism to support prevention strategies. These organisations have contributed to increased gender-sensitive prevention in the P/CVE efforts led by the BNPT.

Women’s participation in preventing violent extremism via I-KHUB in Indonesia has had several positive impacts. Firstly, their involvement challenges gendered stereotypes of women as passive or apolitical, instead promoting a more inclusive understanding of women as agents of change. Secondly, women offer distinct perspectives according to their positionality, providing valuable insights that can help identify the root causes of extremism and develop effective strategies to counter it.

Thirdly, the engagement of women-led CSOs in preventing violent extremism has a profound impact on challenging the misogynist and patriarchal norms that perpetuate and normalise violence against women in Indonesia. Through advocating gender equality and promoting women’s empowerment, women led-CSOs in Indonesia involved in initiatives like I-KHUB are working towards creating a society that is free from gender-based violence and discrimination. Women from religious ulama organisations like KUPI (Kongres Ulama Perempuan Indonesia/ Indonesia’s Women Ulema Congress) apply methods to reinterpret religious texts to highlight principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

I-KHUB equips women-led CSOs to act as first responders in P/CVE programs. The underlying premise is that comprehensive platforms like I-KHUB increase participation and engagement in P/CVE programmes and enhance the efficiency of national counterterrorism and security agencies. I-KHUB plays a pivotal role in countering violent extremism in Indonesia, particularly among women, given they constitute the demographic most susceptible to encountering violence stemming from cyber-attacks and online gender-based violenceThrough multi-stakeholder collaboration, I-KHUB empowers all parties; the platform’s data facilitates comprehensive threat analysis, prevents overlap or duplication in prevention programs across regions, and can be used to predict future online violent extremist threats that could lead to terrorism. 


The use of technology has been a significant factor in the implementation of programmes aimed at preventing and addressing gender-based violence. This includes the establishment of hotlines and the development of information management systems. This Insight examines the function of I-KHUB as an information management analysis tool embedded in the BNPT-facilitated P/CVE national action plan.

In the face of the evolving technology industry, it is crucial to recognise its significance and value in promoting gender-sensitive prevention strategies to mitigate instances of gender-based violence, particularly among demographics vulnerable to violent extremist radicalisation. Additionally, technology companies must ensure that their platforms are not used to promote extremist ideologies or facilitate radicalisation. This would be enabled through greater transparency and accountability measures. 

Initiatives like I-KHUB in Indonesia demonstrate an encouraging trend of creativity and innovation in tech-based P/CVE efforts. Reflecting on a nation’s past experiences with terrorism, the efficacy and accuracy of CT  and P/CVE measures depend on accurate, up-to-date data that facilitates informed decision-making. 

Irine Hiraswari Gayatri has a PhD from Monash University and is a Researcher at the Research Centre for Politics, BRIN, Jakarta, Indonesia