What kind of approach to apply with young people to prevent violent radicalisation extremism in Europe?

Background of the study

Throughout Europe the urgent need of new prevention strategies against radicalisation towards violent extremism is recognised. Studies have shown that especially young people in search for identity and orientation are targeted by radical islamists. Although there is extensive agreement that new ways of prevention have to be found, there seems to be reluctance against cooperation with local communities, and especially with civil society organisations and groups with a Muslim background. Most prevention efforts focus on professionals like youth workers, teachers, integration workers, police and security forces. This scepticism towards direct participation and cooperation with local communities may maintain, however, the dichotomy between “us and them”, instead of strengthening inclusion and mutual understanding. Local communities can be a valuable resource of knowledge and trust: they know very well the needs, desires and living environment of young people and can thus support identity-finding processes.

On the background of these considerations, the CoCoRa study seeks to develop a new prevention strategy based on an inclusive, bottom-up approach. Starting from local communities, it aims to develop a programme that empowers young people through active citizenship. The study is based on the knowledge about marginalisation and experience with inclusion strategies of the participating organisations coming from five European countries – Denmark, Austria, France, Germany and Italy. Two of the organisations are also part of the “Radicalisation Awareness Network” founded by the European Commission in 2011 with the aim of bringing together first-line practitioners engaged in the prevention of violent radicalisation and recruitment.


The CoCoRa study is proceeding in three steps. Its approach is based on practice: each programme (Collaborative Programme, Prevention Programme and Ambassador Programme) will be developed, put into practice, and then all methods, materials and approaches will be carefully evaluated and conclusions will be published in four Handbooks: a Handbook for each single programme (Collaborative Programme, Prevention Programme and Ambassador Programme), and a Handbook laying out the overall Prevention Strategy.

More in detail, the three Programmes look like as follows:

  • Collaborative Programme: this first phase serves to establish the cooperation basis with representatives of local communities. In a number of face-to-face meetings in all partner countries the project ideas are presented and ideas and suggestions about contents and activities of the following Prevention Programme are collected.

The experience of the Collaborative Programme is then evaluated; all methods and activities are eventually documented and described in the CoCoRa Programme Handbook.

  • Prevention Programme with young people: this long-term course of diverse activities involves around 15-20 young people (between 18-25 years) in each partner country; activities are organised in cooperation and with the support of the local communities. Key topics of the activities are:
  • Anti-discrimination, equal treatment and human rights
  • Active Citizenship
  • Democracy and democratic institutions
  • Education and labour market
  • Empowerment, identity building and sense of belonging
  • Social and cultural capital
  • Radicalisation and violent extremism
  • Sports and voluntary activities
  • Opportunities for young people at local, regional, national and EU level

The Prevention Programme relies on a participatory approach that leaves space for personal preferences and interests of the young participants. The overall aim is to build self-confidence of youngsters, providing them with new knowledge and experiences and encouraging their active engagement at local level. The Programme is organised in parallel by the five partner organisations in their countries; activities are adapted to local context and needs.

At the end of the Programme a Handbook with a detailed step-by-step description of all topics, methods and materials is created, taking into account the experience and actual impact on young people of the local Prevention Programmes.

  • Finally, the Ambassador Programme foresees an intensive training programme for 10-12 young participants, providing them with the competences necessary for presenting their learning journey and needs to the local community, including representatives of local authorities. The idea is that young people actually practice empowerment and active citizenship, participating actively both in the planning, organisation and implementation of workshops with prevention professionals and local communities.

To learn more about CoCoRa study

Please refer to the project website to follow the current developments of the study: www.cocoraproject.eu


CoCoRa - Community Counteracting Radicalisation

[su_tabs active="1" vertical="yes"]What does it support [su_tab title="Obiettivi"]

  • Contribuire a migliorare le azioni di prevenzione contro la radicalizzazione islamica militante e l'estremismo islamico tra i giovani
  • Rafforzare la cittadinanza attiva dei giovani musulmani e costruire un ponte sostenibile tra le comunità musulmane locali e i professionisti della prevenzione, al fine di migliorare la collaborazione, la coesione e l'efficienza nel potenziare giovani musulmani a una cittadinanza attiva in termini democratici
  • Abbattere la diffidenza reciproca e fare uso di conoscenze, credibilità e fiducia che le comunità musulmane locali detengono rispetto alla gioventù locale a rischio di radicalizzazione

[/su_tab][su_tab title="Attività"]

  • Sviluppo e sperimentazione di una nuova strategia di prevenzione, che coinvolga attivamente le comunità civili musulmane locali, rispetto alla radicalizzazione religiosa attraverso un processo di responsabilizzazione dei giovani musulmani, del senso di appartenenza e di cittadinanza positiva
  • Sviluppo di un Programma di prevenzione per potenziare e qualificare i giovani ad assumere modelli innovativi di misure attive di auto–inclusione sociale
  • Organizzazione di seminari di prevenzione con professionisti, stakeholders e rappresentanti delle comunità musulmane

[/su_tab][su_tab title="Risultati"]

  • Programma di Collaborazione - per stabilire e ancorare la collaborazione a livello locale
  • Programma di Prevenzione - per potenziare e qualificare i giovani ad assumere la cosiddetta cittadinanza di auto–inclusione sociale
  • Programma degli Ambasciatori - per formare i giovani all’interno dello schema di prevenzione professionale a condividere con i loro pari e i rappresentanti delle comunità musulmane, focalizzando sulla necessità di essere coinvolti in iniziative partecipative

[/su_tab][su_tab title="Partners"]

  • Coordinatore: mhtconsult ApS (Danimarca)
  • Association pour le Développement des Initiatives Citoyennes et Européennes (Francia)
  • cultures interactive e.V. Verein zur interkulturellen. Bildung und Gewaltprävention (Germania)
  • Verein Multikulturell (Austria)

[/su_tab][su_tab title="Info & contatti"]

Segui il progetto IN AZIONE

Date di realizzazione progetto: 01/10/2015 - 01/10/2017

DG di rifermento: DG EAC, Educazione e Formazione, Erasmus+ Azione Chiave 2: Cooperazione per l’innovazione e lo scambio di buone pratiche - Partenariati strategici nel settore della gioventù

Contatto: CESIE: dorothea.urban@cesie.org