L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain, February 2020 – A group of 10 young residents of Valenciennes Métropole (FR) took part in a two-day training session on alternative discourse as part of the LOUD (Local Young Leaders for Inclusion) project, on 24-25 February in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (ES).
This initiative was co-organised by Efus, the Urban Community of Valenciennes Métropole, the L’Hospitalet Town Council, Eurocircle, the association STAJ-Nord Artois and the Association of Students of L’Hospitalet (AELH according to the Spanish acronym).
Led by Efus, LOUD seeks to create a local environment that is more inclusive for young people and thus prevent them from drifting into intolerance and extremism. One of the project’s aspects is to train young residents from the nine partner cities* in alternative discourse in order to create nine local communication campaigns.
> Training and exchanges among youngsters from both cities
Ten youngsters from Valenciennes Métropole aged between 15 and 27 years old – three college students, four university students, two job seekers and one in civic service– thus travelled to the Catalan town under the supervision of STAJ-Nord Artois. They were greeted by the Municipal Councillor in charge of Youth Laura García Manota.
On the first day, they took part in a training on alternative discourse campaigns delivered by Eurocircle, a European non-governmental organisation that is partner in the project and conducts transnational projects in order to “promote a European, intercultural citizenship.”
In the evening, the French youngsters met with a dozen students from L’Hospitalet (AELH) for an informal exchange on the project.
> Visit to three local associations
On the second day, the 10 participants met with representatives of three local associations: Plaúdite, which promotes “positive social change” through theatre; JIS (Joves per la Igualtat i la Solidaritat / Young People for Equality and Solidarity), which develops social and educational projects; the Association of Students of L’Hospitalet (AELH), which supervised the local group, as well as the L’Hospitalet Office for Youth.
The youngsters from Valenciennes spent a third day in L’Hospitalet for a work session with their supervisors on the message and format of their alternative discourse campaign.
> Learning to react in a situation of discrimination and comparing experiences
The meeting created links between the two groups of young people, which will enrich the project. The participants also learned to react or act in situations of discrimination by offering solutions and arguments rather than overreacting or being violent.
The visit enabled participants to compare data on their respective towns – social and economic context, and local associations and initiatives – that can inspire their local actions against discrimination, including the local alternative discourse campaign they will develop through LOUD.
Lastly, they exchanged on the theme of their respective campaigns, such as discrimination based on the colour of the skin, racism or sexism.
> The next phases of the project
Between now and the end of April**, the project partner cities will work with young local residents to finalise the campaigns, notably the dissemination plan and the evaluation to be conducted with partner organisations.
In addition, LOUD will post online a series of four webinars between March and June. The first two will be posted on 19 March and 22 April.
The campaigns will be disseminated in the project’s nine partner cities between May and November.
Lastly, the project’s final seminar will coincide with Efus’ “Security, Democracy and Cities” international conference, on 25-27 November 2020 in Nice (FR).
* Leuven (BE), L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (ES), Augsburg, Düsseldorf (DE), Pella (GR), Rosny-sous-bois, Montreuil, Lille, Valenciennes Métropole (FR)
** Dates might change according to the restrictions imposed throughout Europe as part of the response against the Coronavirus epidemic.
Websites of this event’s partner associations: