Departments
Capacity Building Programs

Capacity Building Youth Radicalization

Capacity Building on Youth Radicalization

Background

The radicalization of youth and children has become an alarming issue in recent years. With the rise of violent extremist groups, one of the most appealing targets for violent extremist recruiters has increasingly been youth and children. Following the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Thematic Conversation on Children and Youth Affected by Violent Extremism (June 2016) and the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Neuchatel Memorandum on Good Practices on Juvenile Justice in a Counter-Terrorism Context, this phenomenon is gaining more attention from the international community.

Recruited and radicalized children are often exposed to sustained radicalizing environments both in person and online. There is also a possibility that children are exposed to radicalizing narratives or experienced loss of family members as a result of violent extremist activities. For all these young individuals, social reintegration and personal resilience can be a serious challenge. The recent influx of returning foreign terrorist fighters (RFTF) from conflict zones also emphasizes that returnees not only include “fighters” but also comprise of youth and children, who have been exposed to varying degrees of radicalization and/or violence. Preventing youth radicalization through specific early interventions and through the disengagement, rehabilitation, and reintegration of radicalized youth and children is one of Hedayah’s strategic goals.

Hedayah’s Capacity Building Program on Youth Radicalization

Drawing upon the Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters program, Hedayah developed a comprehensive curriculum on youth radicalization. Adopting a holistic approach, the program is designed for social workers, psychologists, mentors and educators who work with youth and children. The overarching goals of this program include:

  • Increasing practitioners’ understanding and knowledge of radicalization leading to violent extremism, key terminologies in prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation, and reintegration;
  • Increasing participants’ skills and capacity in developing an appropriate response in prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation, and reintegration in order to increase, restore or consolidate a target population’s personal resilience. In particular, this is conducted through the following three pedagogies:
    • Critical thinking and literacy;
    • Socio-emotional learning: a sense of identity, belonging and purpose, self-awareness, and control over impulses; and
    • Safe methods of expression – tolerance towards diversity (in opinions, religion, and cultural backgrounds).
  • Increasing participants’ operational capabilities in developing, implementing and measuring appropriate preventative, early intervention, rehabilitative and reintegration approaches.

The curriculum is applicable to different local contexts and offers theoretical knowledge as well as practical tools, such as an Activities’ Guide and a Needs Assessment manual. The overall program comprises of five phases:

  1. Needs Assessment Visit;
  2. Capacity Building Training: Theoretical foundations;
  3. Capacity Building Training: Practical knowledge, skills, and tools;
  4. Capacity Building Training: Operational capacity, development of projects and multi-agency approach; and
  5. Mentorship, Technical Assistance, and Monitoring, Measurement & Evaluation.

Hedayah has already started implementing this program in Tunisia, in partnership with the Counter-Terrorism Commission of Tunisia, and plans to expand to other regions.

 

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