In the period between 08-14 March 2020 Alternativi International team has implemented a youth exchange under KA1 of Erasmus + program, funded by HRDC.
The project was a response to the needs of young people to acquire new skills and knowledge. In the recent years in Europe, in the context of the refugee crisis, there has been a great increase in extremist right-wing movements and parties, political populism, violence, increased use of hate speech and increased levels of hate crime, media and political propaganda, fake news, increased cases of discrimination. All this directly affects European values and the future of Europe. Young people are too vulnerable in this environment and easily manipulated by political formations and any other extremist groups promoting violence, hatred and intolerance. In this climate of lack of solidarity and intolerance towards refugees and migrants, the chances of successful integration of refugees are reduced, which poses a threat to security in the EU. The young people with whom we and our partners work are quite often having poor media literacy awareness and skills, are easily misled by propaganda, lack critical thinking, and are unaware of the implications of using hate speech. During the exchange, young people will have the opportunity to discuss key concepts such as freedom, justice, equality, human dignity, non-discrimination, democracy, tolerance, European values, rights, responsibilities, media and fake news, hate speech, hate crimes , extremism, violence, peace and solidarity. In addition, the project is needed for another very important reason – sometimes when young people are driven by the desire to fight hatred, they actually respond with hatred and so it becomes a closed circle. This is the reason why we believe that young people need to learn rather peaceful ways to resist hate than to create new ones.
The objectives we managed to accomplish were:
-To help young people understand the the issue of hate speech and hate crimes, to realize the possible consequences for the communities and Europe in general
– Promoting positive attitudes and acceptance and understanding for refugees and migrants
-Informed participants of ways to combat hate speech in a peaceful ways and to provide ways and channels for reporting hate speech online – promoting media literacy, analytical and critical thinking
– Became acquainted with the NO hate speech movement of Council of Europe
– Presented art and, in particular, graffiti and storytelling as an effective and peaceful ways to combat hate speech
– Stimulated the active position and engagement of young people by encouraging them to be active in the field of human rights protection
– Promoted tolerance, mutual understanding and dialogue between young people of different nationalities.
The participants managed to learn:
We conducted several different forms of assessment during and at the end of the mobility with different methods. The exchange had a strong effect on the participants, as it changed their perceptions and attitudes towards important issues, gave them a new perspective and platform for learning, and also gave them different knowledge and skills. most of all, the exchange was important because of young people’s awareness of their strength and the need to act as an active part of civil society – they realized that every small step is important, that it is they who lead to social change. Young people realized how important it is to be socially engaged and active, they realized that every small activity and social activity is an important step towards greater change. For us as a team of young people, the most valuable thing was the acquired readiness and desire of the participants to act, to defend human rights, not to be indifferent. The exchange, as some of the participants themselves wrote, “not only gave the information, but the spark and confidence to make a change.” With each project, we categorize the benefits into three aspects:
1) KNOWLEDGE / INFORMATION:
– Basic terms such as racism, hate speech, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and extremism and their understanding and awareness, as well as the links between them, the reasons why they come from, how they are related;
– How all these key terms can lead to hate speech understanding of the deep-rooted causes of hate speech, especially to migrants and refugees;
– How hate speech can affect people personally, locally, nationally and internationally;
– How hate speech manifests itself in each country and in Europe as a whole;
– The various forms of human rights violations, and in particular of refugees
– What is freedom of speech;
– What is hate speech and how it can negatively affect others;
– Who are the victims of hate speech;
– Understanding the difference between free speech is hate speech;
– How to combat hate speech, including online, reporting systems – goals and objectives of the Council of Europe;
– the Language without Hate movement;
– the role of “fake news” in promoting hate speech and extremism;
– Actions taken by individuals, organizations and governments to reduce the risk of hate speech and human rights violations;
– developing ideas for monitoring the fight against human rights violations; knowledge of the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe
– How to create videos and online magazines.
– Respect and understanding of new cultures, ethnicities, religions and environments leading to tolerance and acceptance (multiculturalism); knowledge of Erasmus + and the various opportunities in which young people can become involved; –
knowledge of peaceful ways to combat hate speech, the role of art as a means of expressing and upholding human rights;
– graffiti art
– history and practice of storytelling / storytelling /.
– team work (both in large and small groups);
– oral and written communication;
– active participation during and after the project, e.g. – Digital skills (by creating a video / online magazine – shooting / recording, editing and presenting)
– Social competencies and capacity for active participation in a democratic society;
– Speaking publicly, and to smaller and larger groups
– Working in groups of people from different cultures, nationalities, religions and experiences;
-Cultural expression and understanding – This promotes intercultural understanding, acceptance and tolerance;
-Skills for using graffiti sprays; skills for forming a message, creating impactful videos, based on the method of storytelling, creating and creating stories / storytelling /;
3)Attitudes / Attitudes – Understanding / acceptance / tolerance towards different cultures, religions and nationalities; in particular understanding, acceptance and tolerance of refugees.
-Accepting the positive role that diversity plays in Europe and how they can help promote it in a context where far-right movements are growing;
– protection of human rights and dignity in all social, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious aspects;
– recognizing the fundamental values on which the EU is founded, helping to promote its values.