Moleenbeek-Saint-Jean, Belgium, November 2018 – The partners in the Local Voices project met in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (BE) on 7 and 8 November to exchange on their projects of local campaign promoting alternative narratives to violent extremism and benefit from the support of experts. These campaigns, which involve representatives of civil society such as youth groups and associations, will be finalised in the first quarter of 2019.
> Eight projects tailored to local needs and resources to prevent violent extremism
As part of the Local Voices project, Efus supports the creation of eight local campaigns promoting alternative narratives to extremism, which will be released online. The objective is for each campaign to be tailored to the local needs and resources so as to reach each city’s priority target audience. The campaigns will be supported by local actors chosen for their knowledge of local issues and capacity to mobilise civil society.
In Augsburg (DE), the City Council is working with Achim Seger, an artist and activist who promotes interculturalism and fights discrimination. He will manage a group of college students who will realise a video clip promoting alternative narratives to Jihadism for a target audience of youngsters aged 14 to 25. The young video makers ambition to create a film that could also inspire other groups of youngsters and be a model to be replicated.
In Liege (BE), the “Unity in Diversity” project gathers a group of youngsters (eight boys aged 18 to 24 and five girls aged 14 to 22) who are accompanied by some of the city’s youth workers and a neighbourhood youth centre. The project is inspired by urban culture and features notably young rappers who perform the Krump street dance. Through the project, a video clip will be realised on the theme of urban coexistence, which will be released on social media and presented at a public event with the project partners.
In Lyon (FR), the Youth and Culture Centre of the La Duchère neighbourhood mobilised a group of teenagers who want to realise a musical video clip offering alternatives to the grievances of youths at risk of radicalisation.
In Madrid (ES), the City Council is running a “counter-narrative platform”. Local associations specialised in minorities’ rights are mobilised to create campaigns promoting a different perception of these groups who are subject to discrimination. There will be a specific communication campaign for each minority group, including posters that will be featured in the public transport system. These campaigns will also be featured on social media. Through this campaign, the platform wishes to raise awareness among reference persons within families in order to prevent the spread of racist ideas.
In Málaga (ES), the City Council is also running a “counter-narrative platform”, which gathers associations in contact with the public, in particular youngsters, and those most concerned with the issue of radicalisation. These associations will work with a communication specialist and develop a campaign aimed at youngsters at risk of being vulnerable to polarising discourses.
In Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (BE), the Talented Youth Network association mobilised a group of youngsters aged 18 to 25 who are part of its Cityzens programme, which raises awareness and mobilises youngsters around issues of social cohesion. The group wishes to work on the issues of discrimination and ignorance of others, which can give way to intolerant behaviours and stigmatisation.
In Montreuil (FR), the youth municipal service mobilised a group of youngsters from a neighbourhood where there have been problems of radicalisation. Through films followed by debates as well as meetings with experts and working groups, this group will realise a historic fresco representing different forms of extremism. The fresco will be exhibited in a neighbourhood outreach venue, and video clips will be made about it for online release.
In Strasbourg (FR), two social and cultural centres working together with a college mobilised two groups of teenagers who want to create a video clip promoting peaceful coexistence, in a city that shows signs of polarisation with the presence of Jihadist as well as extreme-right ideologies.
> A seminar to exchange practices and support the creation of the campaigns
In Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, representatives of the involved organisations were able to meet for the first time. With the seminar, they were able to exchange on the objectives of their respective projects and on the planned activities, as well as on the lessons learnt from the first stage of preparation of the campaigns. Several experts also intervened to give methodological advice.
Maria Lozano, who leads a Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) working group on victims, gave advice on each phase of the development of a campaign (selecting a target audience, choosing the messages, designing the content of the messages, choosing dissemination channels…). Wassef Lemouchi, a communications consultant, talked about online extremist propaganda, feedback on counter-narrative campaigns, and how to evaluate campaigns. Lastly, Farid Abdelkrim, an author and director, spoke about his experience in designing a series of videos with a group of youngsters from the Espoir 18 association in Paris (FR).
The experts’ interventions and a series of workshops helped participants fine-tune their campaign projects. These will be finalised and put online in the first quarter of 2019, before April. They will also be presented at Efus’ General Assembly meeting in Augsburg (DE) in April, as well as the recommendations resulting from the Local Voices project.
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