Recent research highlights that teaching young people to produce anti-radicalisation video campaigns should be a central element in combatting extremism. Our Another Way Forward programme embodies this counter-extremism model to galvanise young girls to counter extremism. At JAN Trust, we truly recognise the potential of young women and girls as positive change actors in preventing violent extremism and radicalisation.
Empowering communities against extremism, to prevent and combat the spread of extremist ideology, is a crucial measure for keeping our most vulnerable, young people safe. In recent years, there has been an unprecedented shift in the threat from violent extremism, and marginalised youth are especially at risk of radicalisation. At a time of increased vulnerability during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been warned that this has created alarming conditions for the proliferation of online extremism, with the increase in hate online and the spike in exposure to radical groups. As highlighted by our CEO Sajda Mughal in the London Countering Violent Extremism Programme Report 2018-2019, “hate crime committed against an individual can leave that person feeling vulnerable, angry, isolated and like they do not belong. This can also reverberate across whole communities”. Furthermore, extremists and hate groups can exploit this fearful and uncertain situation. How do we at JAN Trust protect our most vulnerable youth?
Recent research from the Royal United Services Institute highlights that teaching young people to create anti-radicalisation video campaigns has produced positive results and should be a central element in combatting extremism, encouraging teachers to address challenging issues when educating students about extremism. The report highlights that reaching a majority of youths – including those who might be at risk of radicalisation or recruitment – through education interventions could be fundamental in the prevention of extremism globally.
This counter-extremism model is reflected in our Another Way Forward: Empowering Young Women Against Extremism programme at JAN Trust, and the findings of the report validate the undeniably important work of our project in countering extremism. Established in 2018, the programme recognises the potential of young women and girls as positive change actors in preventing violent extremism and radicalisation. So far, the project has reached 3187 young people, and 49 workshops have been delivered, working with 9 schools and colleges.
The pioneering initiative, is one of the first projects of its kind that aims to combat the root causes that lead to young women and girls being radicalised, including racism, hate crime, and marginalisation. We also aim to teach young women and girls the signs of radicalisation, far-right movements, and Islamophobia, equipping them with the knowledge they need to help protect their communities from harm and to develop them into ambassadors against extremism. Our ambassadors are the numerous young women who have taken part in our project and displayed a passion and commitment to countering extremism in society and making a difference. We encourage young people themselves to lead the narrative and help to magnify the voices of BAME communities – an important factor in its success. As part of the Another Way Forward project, we at JAN Trust travel to schools to deliver our Safeguarding Against Extremism workshops (SAFE), offer online counter-narrative resources focusing on gender, and educate young women and girls to make their voices through video campaigns. Through education, creativity and creating space for young women to speak about this issue, we want to encourage young people to question radicalisation issues and to deconstruct and demystify extremist messaging. These inspiring young women are taking a stand against extremism and sharing their own stories as part of our Another Way Forward initiative.
We at JAN Trust recognise the potential of young women in countering extremism, through education and having their voices heard, to ultimately influence social change on this issue. Despite the rising levels of online hate in the UK amidst the pandemic, we are not discouraged and continue to empower young people against radicalisation and extremism. We are incredibly excited to continue the vital work of our project beginning this September. To find out more about our programme, please visit our website, where you can watch our ambassador’s campaigns against extremism and radicalisation.