YEIP’s innovative methodology is characterised by its youth-led approach. During our fieldwork and test trials, young people taking an active role as peer research discussing with their peers their experiences, opinions and suggestions regarding the prevention of violent radicalisation.
In this section we report on some case studies form the participating YEIP countries. They serve as examples of active and positive youth participation and engagement.
Case study from the UK
The YEIP project in the UK conducted interviews and focus groups at two separate schools. One was a secondary school in Huntingdon, Cambridge. Here we interviewed 8 individuals who were 15 years old. The other was a further education college in Newham, London. Here we interviewed 16 young people between 16 and 20.
The young people from Huntingdon were all white British, with one exception (Asian) and the young people from Newham were from a spectrum of ethnic backgrounds.
During the focus group, our young researchers asked the individuals “do you feel British?” This had an entirely divisive response from those in the Huntingdon school – who all unanimously said they did – to those in Newham who said they didn’t.
Case study from Romania
As part of the YEIP project, the fieldwork was carried out by a group of 16 young volunteers in Bucharest, Romania and Warsaw, Poland. It involved young people in high schools, universities, NEETs, and migrants. The objective of the research was threefold. First, to assess the conceptualisations of marginalisation and radicalisation and among young people. Second, to collect young people’s input on the prevention of these phenomena. Third, to inform the development of prevention tools based on the Good Lives Model as a preventive framework for radicalisation. Based on the initial training of the young volunteers on qualitative research methods, two focus groups and 33 interviews were carried out. In order to facilitate discussions, encourage participants to express their opinions and share personal experiences a case study was presented. The case study was developed based on a real-life case story involving discrimination and violence towards a young migrant woman.
Case study from Greece
A., an 18-year-old girl, who lives in an area where drug deals prevail, was involved with drug use since the age of 12, as she had access to the trade point, next to her house. She believes that if she were living in another area, or country, her life would not have taken this course. As reported when she was interviewed, in this case, marginalisation and as a result potential radicalisation has to do with the place where she grew up and her personal experiences related to that area.
After consuming drugs for several years, she was hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic and lost a year of school due to absence. Teachers told her that she should choose between her high school diploma and the discharge paper from the clinic. As described, educators are doing their best to communicate to students that they have to try hard to finish school, but children do not opt for hard work, since everything becomes too difficult.
Case study from Cyprus
The pseudonym given is Marios. Marios is a young 16 year-old from Greece who recently moved to Cyprus with his parents. He explained to us that when he first came to the school he faced an incidence of bullying due to his ethnicity being Greek. Specifically, his Cypriot classmates expressed hateful remarks to him for his nationality. At this point we must explain that in Cyprus, public opinion is split with regards to the nature of involvement of the Greek government during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Some believe that the Greeks are to blame for the Turkish invasion, while others believe that they were allies of the Cypriot government.Following this incident, and having felt victimised as well as alienated due to psychological/verbal bullying, Marios shared his experience with his parents. He explained to our Young Researcher that being able to openly discuss this with his parents, enabled him to understand, in an unbiased way, the nature of political involvement from the Greek government.
Case study from Italy
F. lives in Emilia Romagna and is a university student with foreign origins. Her parents come from Morocco, but she was born in Italy.
Her experience in the world of youth associations helped her to overcome the problems of discrimination and bullying suffered during the middle school by her classmates due to the fact that she is Muslim.
Without the help of a youth association, F. believes that her life could have been totally different:
“If I had not been supported by associationism and I did not grow up in that context, many problems, many situations that I experienced in my adolescence would led me to different results or to think differently, to act in a different way. […] If I think to my adolescence, small episodes could have made me a monster.
Case study from Sweden
The young man’s name is Bashir. He is 18 years old and comes from Afghanistan. Due to war in his home country he fled, travelling through countries such as Iran, Turkey, Greece and so on, ending up in Sweden in 2016. Currently, he is seeking asylum and is waiting for a decision from the Swedish migration office on whether he can stay in Sweden or not. While awaiting what will happen to him in the future, Bachir is learning to speak Swedish and is doing his best to get good grades, through a language program. Bashir thinks that Swedish is a little bit difficult, and although he should have started the gymnasium now, he still needs to practice his Swedish to meet the criteria for this according to the Swedish curriculum. As Bachir came to Sweden unaccompanied he found it difficult to concentrate in school. He worried a lot about his family, but this recently changed.
Case study from Portugal
Rosa is 16 years old and lives in a small village in the center of Portugal with her father, a Mozambique native. Rosa called the attention of the young researchers during the Focus Group and also through the interview because she referred to topics that are under YEIP’S investigation aims, namely, issues about extreme political ideologies, racism and homophobia.
Rosa was herself victim of bullying because of her skin color and her physical aspect (e.g.; being called “fat”), and that might have contributed to her mindset and feelings towards marginalization.
Regarding political ideologies, Rosa said that she is annoyed and angry because of the different opinions that her colleagues, and her father as well, often express (e.g., some of her colleagues were sympathetic to Hitler and they supported the idea that immigrants should return to their home countries). Rosa stated that she wished to change the perspectives of her colleagues, since those ideas could have as consequence “the repetition of historical episodes, such as Nazism”.