The EUROGUIDE Project
During their adolescence years, young people are in the process of learning, developing opinions and exploring different worldviews. Education is essential to preventing young people from being attracted to violent extremist ideologies, organisations and movements - whether extreme Islamist, far-right, far-left or other threats to cohesive, inclusive societies. It is therefore vital to help and support front-line practitioners (teachers, social workers, etc.) to empower them to better address the vulnerabilities of young people to extremism. This will consequently contribute to the prevention and countering of youth radicalisation and extremism.
Front-line practitioners at the local level can help to prevent radicalisation by tackling the polarising issues that can lead to young people feeling excluded and thus more vulnerable to extremist ideologies. One of the main challenges to creating resources to support teachers, social workers, etc. is that the issues causing polarisation will vary significantly between EU member states and between the different types of extremism to which young people can be subjected to. Our proposal is a living platform delivering e-learning materials that empower front-line practitioners to teach young people to identify and adopt the democratic values that are shared by EU citizens, which will therefore be of universal value. The platform content will be developed through interviews/workshops with front-line practitioners (in Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands). This, so that we can define the shared values and methods for integrating these into the everyday support and interactions that responders have with young people - ultimately creating a handbook for each participating country. The online toolkit will also include pragmatic support for practitioners facing specific challenges and an online quiz that will help young people become better critical thinkers. The online training will help front-line practitioners utilise the resources effectively. As a result, practitioners will integrate the teaching of shared values into the support they give to young people, access pragmatic solutions to specific challenges to integration and use resources that will help youth gain the media literacy that supports resilience to extremism.
Short-term beneficiaries (front-line practitioners) will become more confident and capable in their ability to help and support their youth, preventing youth radicalisation and extremism; medium-term beneficiaries (young people supported by the front-line practitioners) will gain resilience and a more robust understanding of the values that drive positive life choices; and the project as a whole will impact on its long-term beneficiaries (EU citizens) by helping to create safer and more cohesive local communities.
The general objective of this project is to develop an online toolkit for front-line practitioners that will effectively enhance their capacity to prevent and counter radicalisation and polarisation. The online materials will be accessible to front-line practitioners who work directly with youth and allow them to improve their responses to controversial situations. This resource will be available to a variety of youth-focused fields and contribute to capacity-building for local actors. This project meets the following priorities of the action:
Increasing awareness and capacity of front-line practitioners to recognise polarisation - front-line practitioners who interact frequently with youth will have a better understanding of the dynamics, causes, and effects of polarisation and the ideologies and dis/misinformation that can foster this.
Promoting interaction between different local actors - the platform will connect front-line practitioners to trusted partners and allow different organisations to share information and experiences from a wide range of contexts.
Promoting views of alternative voices - the online material will give front-line practitioners concrete examples of constructive responses to the challenging discussions that they may encounter when working with youth. These messages will focus on shared values and democratic participation.
Developing and promoting concrete tools - the project will create an online toolkit including:
Handbooks for teachers, social workers, etc. with practical responses to controversial narratives and behaviours, tailored in each country of the consortium based on national specificities.
An online quiz for front-line practitioners to use with youth. The quiz will help front-line practitioners recognise fake news, mis/disinformation and propaganda, which will help youth build resilience to polarising narratives in the future.