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CoCoRa – Newsletter No. 3

The final phase of the CoCoRa project

In the final phase of the Erasmus+ project “Community Counteracting Radicalisation” (CoCoRa), between May and September 2017, the partners have organised the Ambassador Programme, and in September 2017 the project results were presented at the Final Conference in Berlin.

CoCoRa Partners at Palermo meeting in July

CoCoRa Partners at Palermo meeting in July

 

CoCoRa Ambassador Programme

The Ambassador Programme follows up on the CoCoRa Prevention Programme (see our Second Newsletter for more details) and aims to train young people to become “ambassadors”: spokesmen and visible representatives for young peoples’ interests and needs towards local authorities and municipal professionals in the general prevention efforts. Young ambassadors are trained in communication- and dialogical skills to make presentations on workshops for authorities and professionals in the general prevention efforts.

As for the previous phases of the CoCoRa project, each partner organisation adapts the general framework to the local needs of the communities and of young people.

 

The Ambassador Programme in Denmark…

In Denmark, the CoCora Ambassador programme is organized as a training course, following in direct extension of the previous CoCoRa Prevention programme for young people with a Muslim background. Thus, the Ambassador Programme was already introduced during the Prevention programme. By doing so, we ensured a clear continuity between the working topics from the Prevention programme and the themes which the young Ambassadors prioritize in their own Ambassadors´ presentations. The Ambassador Programme also attracted young people from the collaborating Muslim community, who did not participate in the Prevention Programme. In total about 20 young people have shown their interest at an introductory workshop. The final Ambassador group includes 10 participants.

The Ambassador programme has involved external speakers and facilitators who – from various angles - have trained the young Ambassadors in communication techniques, authentic appearance, handling of interreligious dialogues etc. The facilitators included a well-known journalist and reporter with many years of experience from television and media as well as an imam with special experience in intercultural understanding and dialogical communication of religious topics in a secular society.

In the last part of the Ambassador programme, the young Ambassadors work intensively in smaller groups to build their own presentations, which will be presented at the CoCoRa Closing Conference in Berlin as well as in workshops for municipal representatives and a presentation for other young people and adults from the Ambassadors’ own Muslim community. The themes will in particular focus on the concept of citizenship, multiple cultural identities and a daily life that integrates an active citizenship with a religious lifestyle.

 Denmark Ambassadors

The Danish CoCoRa Ambassadors

 

…in Austria

In Austria, the CoCora Ambassador program is organized by Verein Multikulturell as a training course with 11 participants from young migrant communities. The training course is a part of prevention programs. The training is coordinated by Klaudia BINNA. During the training sessions, different topics were discussed such as migration, life histories, experience in the host country and expectations for the future. A second trainer from a migrant organization has informed the participants on tolerance, intercultural understanding and dialogic communication in society. A total of 17 young people from different ethnic communities showed interest, but a total of 11 young people were involved in the final Ambassador group. They went through the program and received also a certificate for their contribution at one of the public events.

 

…in France

In France, the CoCoRa Ambassador programme was organised by ADICE as a training course divided into 4 different workshops. Two groups of 10 young people participated to these workshops, part of the prevention programme. The training was coordinated by ADICE, and the following topics were discussed:

  • What are your rights and duties as a citizen from France and Europe?
  • How can you communicate interculturally and understand different ways of living, customs and habits? How can you engage yourself as a citizen in volunteering?
  • How can you value your competences and get access to the labour market?

The objective was to include these young citizens in the society by showing them ways of taking part into it, of acting concretely to make things change. The debates were mostly about intercultural understanding, communication, commitment and civic and democratic participation. A total of 20 young people from different communities and origins took part to the Ambassador programme.

All the Ambassadors worked in group to prepare their own presentation and to learn to present them orally to different speakers. They worked on presenting their own personal projects and their work on intercultural communication.

 

France Ambassadors

Ambassador Programme in France

…in Germany

In Germany, the CoCoRa Ambassador programme was set up according to Cultures Interactive’s (CI) approach of the “Fair Skillls YouTubing Video Workshop and We-Amongst-Ourself-Group (WAOG)”, which was conceptualized in the CoCoRa project (cf. CoCoRa methodology) and has also been part of CI’s programme of civic education and youth-culture work in preventing violent extremism. The WAOG group is based on the principles of group self-awareness, to stimulate social and emotional intelligence and strengthen the young people’s ability to speak expressively about their own experiences and listen respectfully and supportively to others. Based on this group work the participants may then engage – on a purely voluntary and optional level – in a process of video production, which includes training in interviewing and video editing skills. In addition skills of presenting and contextualizing the video before other audiences are trained.

Different groups from two Berlin-Kreuzberg/ Neukölln schools and attached social work units were involved at different stages, the Carl von Ossietzky school (CvO) and the Rütli Campus school, the latter of which had lost students as Syrian travelers in the past. The NGOs ‘Bildung bewegt’ and CI’s project “Spot on, Girls!” took part as well. These organizations show mixed populations with a high proportion of Turkish, Bosnian, Arab and African families building a hybrid “community” of families which to large extents – but by no means exclusively – identify more or less with a Muslim cultural background.

In the first part of the Ambassador programme in March, three CoCoRa youngsters from the CvO were prepared for and attended an international event on youth and radicalization in Brussels, co-organized by the EU commission (RAN; The 13th European Remembrance Day for the Victims of Terrorism). Springing from this a larger group of CvO students met for further session on the topic. In the last part of the Ambassador programme, the eventual course providing the option to engage in video production worked with a group of 7 from “Spot on, Girls!”, CvO and ‘Bildung bewegt’.

 

…in Italy

CESIE is organizing the Ambassador Programme in Italy in the form of a stop motion video workshop. The 9 participants, most of them former participants of the Prevention Programme and with a migration background, will learn how to tell their stories, their desires and needs in short animation videos. They start with brainstorming ideas, including an observation walk in Palermo. Then participants receive an introduction into storytelling and preparation of a storyboard for the films. Finally, with the materials and ideas collected, the videos are realized with the support of CESIE’s communication expert. The Programme will conclude with the common preparation of an Ambassador Workshop where local representatives of municipalities and other organisations active in prevention and social inclusion will be invited. Stop motion allows realizing with simple means, even with a smartphone, effective videos using different materials such as pictures, sounds, music, figures etc. Young people learn this way a new method of communication which they can use even with limited language skills.

CoCoRa participants during the walking analysis in Palermo

CoCoRa participants during the walking analysis in Palermo

 

The Final Conference in Berlin

As a great ending of the two-year project period, in September 2017, the CoCoRa partners conducted the closing conference as a full-time conference in Berlin. The conference programme offered a wide range of keynote speakers and workshops where intercultural ambassadors and partner organisations reported on the development processes and results from CoCoRa.

In all sessions, discussions and engagement of the participants were intensive and high. All presentations and debates were characterized by a positive critical approach to the many issues that still arise in common reflections on good practices in the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism. A special tribute was given to the young intercultural ambassadors who, on the basis of their participation in the CoCoRa learning/training programmes, for the first time stood in front of a larger audience, telling about their own experiences, challenges and expectations for the future as young people with a Muslim and ethnic minority background in today's Europe . It was at the same time moving, instructive and thought-provoking for everyone present.

In addition to the final conference, the CoCoRa partners have organized local ambassador workshops, where the new intercultural ambassadors have had the opportunity to convey their learning and experience from the CoCoRa project to professionals and other stakeholders in the field of prevention actions. An important perspective for the local workshops was the young ambassadors´ contact with schools, youth counselors, youth clubs and local authorities who have invited the ambassadors to disseminate and exploit their knowledge and experience to other young people and youth professionals as part of general prevention efforts in local communities and municipalities.

 

The Prevention Strategy and Handbooks

The CoCoRa Handbooks will soon be available on the project website.

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Do you want to know more about the local CoCoRa Programmes?

 

Your contact person in Denmark:

mhtconsult: Margit Helle Thomsen
mht@mhtconsult.dk

Your contact person in France:

ADICE: Fanny Dufréchou
fanny.dufrechou@adice.asso.fr

Your contact person in Germany:

Cultures Interactive: Harald Weilnböck
weilnboeck@cultures-interactive.de

Your contact person in Austria:

Verein Multikulturell: Ovagem Agaidyan
obo@migration.cc

Your contact person in Italy:

CESIE: Dorothea Urban
dorothea.urban@cesie.org

 

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