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Tag: youthwork

Preventing Radicalization through Youthwork: from theory to practice. Final thoughts, feelings, impressions

Preventing Radicalization through Youthwork: from theory to practice. Final thoughts, feelings, impressions

‘Do you think that you could implement in your own setting some of the good practices that you saw during the seminar?’

Suddenly there was silence. We were playing the ‘statement game’, an interactive evaluation tool, where participants are asked to show how much they agree or disagree with a statement by positioning themselves in the one or the other side of the room. Some minutes before, the group had stated unanimously how useful it had been hearing about other people’s success stories and visiting local organizations in Tirana. So, what are the constraints making us hesitant over how to translate ideas into practice?

It has become understood that the prevention and combat of radicalization calls for a cross-sectorial approach, based on a coherent, community-oriented methodology, with full awareness of both the sensitivity and the multifacetedness of the subject. In this process, youthwork should be involved in the agenda in a regular, consistent and sustainable manner, so that it can have a concrete, tangible and long-term effect. The discussions throughout the seminar, both in the plenary and during the field visits, showed that there is still a lot to be done on how to bridge the gap between theory and practice, research/needs analysis and local action, youth policy and grassroots youthwork. Although there is an international will to tackle radicalization, what is still lacking in many countries, especially in the western Balkan region, is a concrete, comprehensive and cohesive agenda, based on a youth-oriented strategy and evidence-based methodology. Consequently, it is beyond doubt there is gain in collecting and exchanging good practices, which can allow us to have access to information and tools on what is available, what can be adopted and how we can work with each other in order to have better results.
Participants conveyed through their answers their motivation to work on reducing these gaps through their own role and on finding ways to overcome challenges. The last session of the seminar focused on addressing our own fears and constraints, developing strategies on how to communicate our work, finding partners to support our follow-up projects and learning from each other. Radicalization grows and feeds itself within group dynamics, therefore preventing it is also a matter of collective work.

By Mary Drosopulos, PhD (c )

Seminar Building young people’s resilience against violent radicalisation: insides from workhsops

Seminar Building young people’s resilience against violent radicalisation: insides from workhsops

Mustapha from Belgium: Accompanying the young adults who come in contact with radicalization and the detained Syria fighters    

 

Anna from UK: Introduction to discussing identity with young people

Feedbacks toward the end of the seminar (VIDEO)

Feedbacks toward the end of the seminar (VIDEO)

Feedbacks from participants toward the end of the seminar:

What are you taking back home? What impressed you more during the seminar (good practice, workshop, feelings etc)

FIELD VISIT AT THE CENTER FOR THE PREVENTION AND COUNTERING OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM (CVE) IN TIRANA

FIELD VISIT AT THE CENTER FOR THE PREVENTION AND COUNTERING OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM (CVE) IN TIRANA

Some years ago, we were thinking there wasn’t a need for such an institution. Social and geopolitical developments in the last years, however, have shown that having a Center for the Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism in Tirana is indeed relevant and needed for the wider region’.

With these words, the National CVE Coordinator, Mr Agron Bojati, started his presentation about the establishment and agenda of the center in Albania. Radicalization of youth, as Mr Bojati, explained, is owed to a number of factors, which are not necessarily directly connected with ideology. Poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunities and quest of ‘belongingness’ are the major reasons driving young people in the Western Balkans to become radical. These factors, often in combination with a distorted understanding of religion, lead to radical ideologies and consequently, extreme behaviors.

The conversation with Mr Bojati and his colleague, Mrs Klejda Ngjela, focused on the challenges faced on a practical level and also on the role of youth work in creating more resilient societies. The discussions verified the theoretical context discussed on the first day:

Radicalization is a process, which takes time and grows slowly but steadily. Therefore, the prevention of radicalization through youthwork should be a constant, cohesive and sustainable procedure, with a long-term plan.

Personal relations play a vital role. Many people embrace extreme ideologies out of a need to belong to a group, to be accepted and to have a purpose in life. Practitioners working with youth can make a change in their communities by creating ‘teams’ and providing safe spaces where youth can express themselves, socialize and get motivation.

Radicalization and extremism are closely connected with the economy. It is usually poverty opening Pandora’s box and driving young people to search extreme ‘solutions’ in their daily challenges. A ‘smart’ investment on youth and education can have a rewarding effect for the community and the region, as a whole.

       By Mary Drosopulos, PhD ( c )