Project Details

Acronym

CHAMPIONs

Title

Cooperative Harmonized Action Model to stop Polarisation in Our Nations

Duration

24 Months

GA Number

823705

Topic ID

ISFP-2017-AG-RAD

Call

Radicalisation

Funding Scheme

Internal Security Fund - Police

Project Type

AG

Project Background

Europe – in particular the CEE region – is experiencing a rise in polarising political and social movements characterized by Euroscepticism, chauvinism and xenophobia, radicalisation and incidents of violent extremism. Far-right movements have gained momentum in Poland and Romania paralleled by increasing community tensions and radicalisation of at-risk-groups. Germany’s recent elections saw AfD achieve a vote-share not seen by a far-right party for many years. This reflects a broader rise in populism and polarisation seen also elsewhere in Europe.

 

Alarming figures come from Hungary where the ratio of “attitude radicals” open to far-right ideology was one of the highest within the EU in 2015. Polarisation exists where a loss of societal trust, marginalisation and inflamed community tension perpetuates group-on-group discrimination or stigmatization. To develop effective detection and response (D&R) interventions a systematic and targeted approach needs to be adopted for each stage of the cycle. Without multi-agency coordination and improved information sharing this systemic approach is near impossible. FLPs (first-line-practitioners) need an improved understanding of the impact of actions on polarisation in conjunction with other interventions and agencies; and how improved information sharing and

cooperation can enhance effective detection and prevention. They need the right tools and cooperation models that fit their institutional needs & realities to improve multi-agency cooperation. The quality & effectiveness of multi-agency collaboration within Europe is varied. Germany (like Denmark and the Netherlands) demonstrate a high level of structural collaboration between institutions and organisations working to counter polarisation – in contrast to Romania, Hungary and Poland. The practice of enhanced cooperation, information sharing and communication has been improved in Germany over the past decade. However, consultation with local level FLPs indicates this could be further enhanced to more effectively address polarisation and radicalisation and improve upstream prevention through multi-agency collaboration and improved detection.

 

Studies have also shown a willingness from teachers, law enforcement, social workers, NGOs and other actors to foster constructive approaches to addressing polarisation and radicalisation. FLPs in Romania and Hungary (a) have a strong belief that inter-institutional collaboration between practitioners and law enforcement would enable more effective practice, but (b) lack the mechanisms and institutional practices and mandate to implement this.

While tremendous expertise has been developed ‘in pockets’ amongst FLPs on detection and prevention, across the board FLPs identify the need to improve sharing of lessons-learned, training and preparation fit to their needs, and access to relevant tools they can actually use. FLPs also lack knowledge of best practice approaches to address polarisation within their communities through improved joined-up approaches – knowledge that could be significantly enhanced if practitioners had better models for cooperation and were able to share information and develop joint solutions for D&R. Consultations indicate a lack of online technological tools and services to (a) communicate and cooperate, (b) share information, or (c) learn from good and bad practice as identified by their peers from other agencies as well as across countries.

 

This project’s central objective and action is to not only develop offline collaboration models to establish permanent cooperative solution design between FLPs, but it will complement and support this process with a centrally developed platform tool and service package. The package and the models, upon successful completion of the project, will be rolled out to other municipalities and countries across the EU.

Project Objectives

Objective 1

To better the understanding and awareness of first-line-practitioners from Romania, Poland, Hungary and Germany.

Objective 2

To enhance capacities and capabilities of FLPs for local level inter-organisational collaboration and improve information sharing.

Objective 3

To disseminate and share local and EU-level good practices among first-line-practitioners transnationally for EU-wide knowledge exchange.

Objective 4

To facilitate access of FLPs to at relevant resources, videos and online trainings for improving their professional skills.

Objective 5

To establish onsite models of cooperation in the partner countries to overcome ‘silo-ing’ and improve information sharing, detection and response to polarisation.

Objective 6

To develop the skills of FLPs to counter and reduce polarisation and to encourage societal cohesion through offline and online training.

Objective 7

To improve capabilities for awareness raising on polarisation and trust between civic society organisations, communities and FLPs.

Objective 8

To utilise moderate voices and key influencers in the community for impactful awareness-raising activities.

Project Methodology

The comprehensive methodology combines on-line platform development, support tools, online training & learning resources, real-time alert systems & practitioner-friendly tools, and simulation exercises to build capacities and enable effective detection and response solution design. The onsite models for collaboration enable joint capacity building and collaborative solution design through trainings, workshops (‘Roundtables’), awareness-raising activities and sustained use after completion of the project. To facilitate this, a baseline mapping needs assessment and evaluation of past/existing counter-polarisation, counter-

radicalisation and PVE projects in Europe will inform the design of the deliverables & outputs of Project CHAMPIONs. A consolidation of developed and appropriate tools to effectively counter polarisation will be integrated into the ‘Alert’ system, an evaluation of best practice / needs assessment of FLP training will inform the online/onsite training material, and an analysis of the needs of practitioners for effective online and onsite communication/collaboration models will inform the design of the ‘Arena’ and CHAMPIONs Roundtable actions. A dedicated work package will be implemented for quality participatory

action monitoring, evaluation, learning and improvement in real time of the project’s internal and external actions. Furthermore, a partner dedicated to ensuring the integration and dissemination of the project’s deliverables into other EU and local FLP projects both during and at the conclusion of the project will enhance sustainability and multiplication. This robust use of lessons and realtime M&E and creation of fit-to-purpose online tools and training will enable the effective impact of FLP solutions to be developed and improve transferability and European-wide impact of the project.

Project Impacts

The main impact of CHAMPIONs is to improve the impact and effectiveness of FLP interventions to counter and prevent polarisation through enhanced on-site cooperation models, information sharing and dedicated online platform. Through a multistakeholder process, joint needs assessment, and collaborative development of online and on-site tools, CHAMPIONs will create tailored, customised infrastructure and instruments responding to the real conditions and needs of FLPs – designed for use and scaling across Europe. The project will create models of cooperation where FLPs that work with vulnerable groups can build resilience in their communities and

protect them from being radicalised, engaging in polarising discourse, or affiliating themselves with (violent) extremist organisations. The models will enable FLPs to collaborate to design multi-agency D&R solutions to counter polarisation. Training and workshops (‘Roundtables’) will improve FLP capabilities for detection and cooperation strengthening cooperative working models. The Roundtables will engage FLPs and moderate voices to raise awareness in communities to build trust, transparency and a relationship with the general public and key influencers to maximise their action-impact. The online platform will

strengthen capabilities and support onsite and real-time collaboration (a) enhancing detection capabilities best practice detection and monitoring tools and services into one service, (b) improving information exchange and communication & cooperation with a user-friendly private and public communication service, and (c) building capacity through a learning resource centre where FLPs are made more aware of the dynamics and drivers of polarisation at relevant grass-roots levels, can engage as individuals in online courses and video tutorials, or collectively engage as FLP ‘CHAMPIONs’ with online joint-simulation exercises.