28.11.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

YouthMobile workshop: Looking for solutions to prevent violent extremism through ICTs

In the margin of the UNESCO-Québec International conference ‘’Internet and the radicalisation of youth: preventing, acting and living together’’, UNESCO’s YouthMobile organized on 31 October 2016 a workshop mobilizing youth to help participating organizations reaching their goals by sharing their ideas.

On the Halloween evening in Canada, around 30 youth gathered for the “Atelier de créativité YouthMobile” workshop in order to trick their minds after attending the conference. In four hours, the participants were divided into three teams guided by a social entrepreneur. Their goal: to prompt their creativity and come up with an ICT solution for their given “challenge” on preventing violent extremism. This workshop was animated by MakeSense, an international community that rallies volunteers in 128 cities across the world to help social entrepreneurs to solve their challenges.

After a call for challenges addressed to the organizations taking part to the conference, the submissions from the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization leading to Violence (CPRMV), the Project SOMEONE, and the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab (DMAP Lab) were selected as the topics for the workshop. These challenges were:  "What elements to integrate in an online video game to prevent violent extremism?", "How to reach 10,000 new users for the SOMEONE platform by the end of the year?" and "What digital package should DMAP Lab create for schools to counteract violent extremism?"

Project SOMEONE, a portal that strives to creating a space for dialogue and combat online hate by building awareness and resilience, submitted a challenge on "How to reach 10,000 new users for the SOMEONE platform by the end of the year?". Youths coming from Mexico, Canada and Ivory Coast devised several strategies such as incorporating social media feeds, and providing incentives for an increased participation and interaction to multiply the viewership of the SOMEONE portal. The workshop not only encouraged creativity from the participants but also benefited the social entrepreneurs. Marie Lamensch, the DMAP lab project coordinator who also led their correspondent group said, "UNESCO’s YouthMobile workshop was very enriching for me and the DMAP Lab team. The workshop’s methodology enabled us to test our digital kit and confirm our ideas, but most importantly, it helped us improving our concept thanks to the creativity and diversity of the young participants."

Yet tricking the mind might be followed by treats in reality. After the workshop, the social entrepreneurs will advance forward to make these ideas into practice. Vivek Venkatesh, the founder and director of Project SOMEONE said, "My team is now looking into implementing these strategies in the short-term and we are grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this unique event."

Finally, on "what elements to integrate in an online video game to prevent violent extremism?", the participants to the CPRMV workshop brainstormed a handful of features for two video game prototypes.

This workshop was proposed by the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, which strives to provide young people with ICT and problem solving skills to address issues of sustainable development.



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