The Curbing Radicalisation Through Youth Resilience and Community Partnerships Project was an initiative by VASS, funded by the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department and ran between 2011 and 2012. The project was made up of a number of smaller projects and activities that address particular issues with a focus on achieving a number of objectives. This was undertaken in the following way:
-Monash University research workshops, including staff from the Faculty of Arts, such as Dr. Peter Lentini
– Introduction to media productions
-United Nations Youth Ambassadors Program
– Soccer leadership camp
-First Aid Course
The program’s central aim is to address the negative effects of disempowerment, anger, helplessness and frustration within the Australian Speaking Background (ASB) communities. The project supported the strengthening of communal bonds within the social, cultural and economic life of Melbourne, and actively engaging ASB youth in programs and interventions designed to re-instill connectedness and belonging.
ACHIEVEMENTS & FINDINGS
Many of the youth who engaged in this project discovered programs and presented interest with joining other youth groups. Examples are joining VASS’ Kalam TV program, a television program on Channel 31 which airs once a week, allowing youth to experience broadcasting, writing and production within screen media. Also, interests were experienced to join VASS’ radio program, ‘3al Hawa’ at the 3CR Radio Station.
A report of this project has been formally produced and distributed as well as presented to an audience attended by community professionals, prominent personnel and staff from the Attorney-General’s Department. This report has allowed VASS to continue its ongoing membership with the Victoria Police Muslim Community Reference Committee in its voluntary capacity and VASS relies on volunteers to regularly attend meetings. These meetings were documented through questionnaires, surveys and other forms of information collection and collation.
In line with the recommendations mentioned for each initiative and the objectives for the focus group, VASS identified a number of broad areas of target concern to work on and develop in the coming financial year:
1. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Developing the leadership capacity of the Arabic Speaking Background (ASB) youth through creating opportunities for increased self-esteem and self-confidence and skills in teamwork, independent living skills, communication and negotiation and to develop into positive role models with broader Arabic and Islamic communities.
2. FAMILY RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT
To equip parents and guardians with the knowledge and skills to recognise ‘at risk’ behaviour in their children and equip them with the tools and ability to address it before it escalates to radicalisation.
To educate parents and community leaders on human rights in Australia and the adverse effects of early marriage on young women (as supported by international scholarship), and how it may impact on empowering women and family dynamics, ultimately preventing radicalisation and extremist behaviour.