Providing support to youth in local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is organising within the community-based project aimed at the prevention of violent extremism in BiH – “Community Based Approach to Support Youth in Targeted Municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina” a conference entitled “Providing support to youth in local communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina“. The conference, to be held on 20 September 2018 in Sarajevo, aims at bringing together actors and individuals from the fifteen project municipalities to present current results, the impact of the ongoing project and the importance of local ownership as well as the role of first-line responders in regard to efforts on preventing violent extremism. Furthermore, the conference will provide various international and local stakeholders with a further understanding of local activities and youth and parents’ initiatives in addressing the phenomena of radicalization and violent extremism.

Workshop „Community Dialogue – Preventing Radicalisation in Local Communities and Among Youth“

In cooperation with the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies of the University of Sarajevo, RCC will on September 18th gather in Sarajevo students from Bihac, Banjaluka, Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar and Sarajevo in order to discuss early signs of radicalisation in local communities and among youth. The aim of this event is to generate a constructive debate on societal context of local radicalisation, as well as the necessity for developing a strong referral mechanism for not only detecting but also preventing radicalisation narratives among youth.  This event is organized within the IPA II 2016 Regional Action on P/CVE in the Western Balkans.

For more information please visit RCC website here.

#YouthAgainstHate: Empowering Youth to Combat Hate Speech in Local Communities

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project will be implemented by the selected implementation partner (Media Diversity Institute Western Balkans). The objective of this project is to equip young people in the capital area with tools to identify, expose and combat hate speech. Sixteen youth activists, up to 25 years of age, will receive expert training on the topic, and themselves be trained as trainers. The 16 activists will then further engage with 200 local high school students, providing training of their own based on a collectively developed manual, that is at its core youth accessible and relevant. A social media campaign on the training and manual will reach out to 10,000 people, and is intended to provide a space for discussions and debate. Hate speech both reflects the levels of intolerance and extremism in a community, and if unaddressed can normalize it. In such an environment of progressive extremism, even more violent and radical forms of extremism are more likely to emerge.

Active Youth for Secure Community

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Forum 10), has at its core the critical need to build trust between young people in Novi Pazar and local police bodies, including the MSC. Novi Pazar has faced special challenges in community policing, and efforts to improve trust and accountability are critical to ensuring young people are a partner in preventing anti-social behaviour, including radicalization. The project will create an educational platform for young people on the issue of security, developing their civic education skills and competences as well as encouraging healthy relationships with the government security institutions of Novi Pazar. It will achieve this through organizing public discussions in secondary schools on local safety issues and response options, workshops for related skills-building to ensure young people have the voice and ability to ensure their concerns are included in the MSC’s work, and roundtable discussions for young people with local and state level stakeholders.

Active Youth in Bujanovac and Preševo

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Tituli), will implement an educational campaign on the role and function of local governance (especially the municipal assembly and council) emphasizing the importance of citizen participation. Three sessions for 20 to 40 people, 14 to 20 years of age, in both Bujanovac and in Preševo, will consist of discussions with justice and public administration experts, debates, online material publication and media promotion. There will be a focus on trying to identify why young people feel they have no genuine agency, and what changes are needed to ensure they can be active, and effective, in their communities.

South Serbia faces specific governance challenges that often serve to further increase the distance between citizens and institutions. Young people who feel that their community and institutions do not work for them are more likely to give up – to seek to emigrate, to engage in more fulfilling forms of anti-social behaviour, or to join extremist groups, that do offer agency and community.

Circus Builds Trust

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Cinema City), will took place in a part of Serbia with a very diverse and rich history, as well as substantial contemporary demographic shifts and political challenges, will address difficult discussions in an accessible manner. The rise of hate groups in this part of the country often hinges on stereotypes and “us vs. them” messages; this activity provides a counterweight to these negative trends. A contemporary theatrical circus performance will provide an active and student-centred, peer-to-peer learning tool for the direct enrichment of 20 young people from Novi Sad. The program tackles prejudice, fear and stereotyping, develops critical thinking skills and requires active youth participation and creative input. Through performances in 4 schools, the circus will reach 700 other students; a promotional campaign will further potentially reach over 30,000 people in Vojvodina.

Equality, Diversity and Media Literacy – Youth Dialogue

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Sandzak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms), will seek to improve media literacy and knowledge concerning discrimination and social inequality through the theoretical and practical training of 100 participants, with special attention paid to improving critical assessment of content and their own ability to generate effective and factual media messages. Media literacy will be framed to emphasize the important of information and critical thinking in active citizenship. Critical thinking and media literacy are widely viewed as essential in helping to give young people the tools needed to resist the alluring messages that come from extremist groups.

Play and Foster Youth for Tolerance and Understanding

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Helsinki Committee for Human Rights) is focused on a core group of youth participants, but will provide useful information that could be critical to the development and integration of similar opportunities and experiences to more students in the Novi Pazar area (ideally through the formal school/curriculum), to reach and inoculate a broader segment of the population against the lure of extremism. The project engages a core group of 20 young people to participate in a 4-day workshop consisting of theoretical sessions and creative expression workshops. The core group will organize five peer-to-peer debates in Student Parliaments in their schools to engage with up to 200 young people, concluding with a debate on radicalization and violent extremism, and the links to issues including tolerance, interculturalism and citizenship.

Switch Prejudice Off

This project is part of the broader project funded by the British Embassy in Belgrade “Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization Threats in Serbia through Community-Based Early Warning and Preventive Engagement”. The latter is aimed at establishing and consolidating a foundation for efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization that can lead to terrorism (VERLT) in Serbia. Preventing and countering VERLT is recognized as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach in the global fight against terrorism to which the Government of Serbia is committed. The project encompasses three themes of research, in specific: support to community policing/municipal safety councils (MSCs), intercultural education and civic participation and engagement (civic education).

This specific project, implemented by the selected implementation partner (Civic Initiatives), will conduct teaching training on topics related to violent extremism and radicalization with the aim to empower civic education practices. The focus will be on civic education teachers currently working in targeted Niš high schools, grammar schools and vocational schools. Teachers will be trained using materials based on the UNESCO “Teacher’s guide on the prevention of violent extremism,” with several hundred students being instructed by these teachers. Teachers will use interactive teaching methods, asking students to present on related topics to their own student parliaments, parent councils, school management, and also to peers in other schools. The project also envisions a final public event to present the results and deliver recommendations for the Ministry of Education. Civic education is aimed at educating students at how they fit in to a society, and how they can engage in their community – skills critical for ensuring participation and agency. Research shows that a sense of helplessness often drives young people to join extremist groups, where they hope they might enjoy a sense of agency and action they lack in their society.