EU Programme: Erasmus Plus

Type of Action: KA2 strategic partnership in the field of youth

ID Project: 2017-3-NL02-KA205-001860

Duration: 01-02-2018 / 30-09-2019, 20 Months

Last year more than 1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe, many fleeing wars in Africa and the Middle East. This increasing migration flow sparked a crisis as Members States (MSs) had difficulty to cope with the influx, and causing division in the European Union (EU) over how to deal best with migrant smuggling, resettling people and integration (Europol, 2017). EU MSs granted protection to more than 1.2 million first time asylum seekers (Eurostat, 2017). As the migration flows continue to rise in Europe, so do anti-migrant and anti-refugee rhetoric and instances of harsh treatment of these communities. There has been a clear and global increase in hate incidents and crimes, where both public/private entities and individuals use hate speech against migrants and refugees both online and offline. The words used in politics, in the news, and in social media have consequences. Rhetorical excesses and xenophobic hatred can give rise to a climate of prejudice, discrimination and violence. Both traditional and new media can play an important role in conditioning public perception of migrant populations and their social integration by providing objective reporting. However, both intentional and unintentional discriminatory portrayals of migrants and refugees are often found in the media, thus negatively influencing people’s views of these communities (EU-UNAOC, 2016).

In this context, Internet and social media are omnipresent communication tools, through which citizens share information and interact by expressing their perceptions, needs and opinions on a myriad of topics. Following this direction, on 31th May 2016, the European Commission presented with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube a “Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online”. The four IT companies accepted to share the European Commission’s and EU Member States’ commitment to tackle illegal hate speech online and all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.

The project “Tackle Hate” aims to equip youth workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop practical tools and counter-arguments to online hate speech and in preventing and fighting xenophobia against migrants and refugees.

The project has been designed over 20 months to happen in 3 major consecutive phases using the PDCA methodology (plan, do, check, act):

Phase one – Setting up the project, Planning & Research phase.
Phase two – Project activities implementation phase and realisation of IO1.
Phase three – Design of IO2, local activities, project evaluation phase, closure.

The following impact has been foreseen:

-The project is directly aimed to youth workers/youth leaders in the field of human rights and hate speech education. They will benefit from educational content to improve their knowledge and skills regarding to online hate speech and capacity to raise awareness and provide counter-arguments to online hate speech.
-The youth workers will benefit in terms of motivation, commitment, tools and methods. Their level of skills will improve and these skills will be also transferable to other youth workers in other organisations.
– Youth organisations involved in learning activities will benefit from improved youth work: more committed and motivated youth workers, more consistency between regardless of youth workers involved in learning activities. This results in creating more impact in the awareness raising activities, improve learning impact, extended learning opportunities on hate speech phenomenon and eventually more sustainable results and impact of the activities.
-Organisations involved will benefit from improve processes and results, therefore optimize available resources for new activities such as educating youth to be aware of the online hate speech threats. The project aims to contribute to sustainability and capacity building of the organisations.

The project is designed to result in long term and self-sustaining results, creating a positive impact in youth organisations daily job and on youth workers tackling online hate speech. Therefore, the project will eventually result in the creation of self-sustained initiatives and activities in the field of youth.

In order to make our project sustainable, the partners plan to perform some follow-up activities such as:

-It is also expected that good practices and experience matured will lead the partners’ organisations to the creation of variety of new e-learning courses.
-New trained partners’ youth workers will transfer and implement all the knowledge acquired becoming online activists against online hate speech, creating local and online awareness campaigns and delivering workshops for youth for explaining them what is hate speech and how to tackle it.