In a brief outline of literature on radicalisation it becomes clear that although it is a contested concept, many researchers and policymakers see it as a process with a mixture of causal factors on different levels. Possible influential factors range from individual characteristics to personal experiences and group dynamics to (geo) political developments, reflecting micro, meso and macro level factors.
The programmes listed by the ARMOUR team are sorted along these levels by looking at their focus. All selected programmes want to lessen radicalisation among youths. However, some programmes are working with the individual youths themselves, while others are aiming to have an impact by targeting either the direct environment or the indirect environment of the potentially radicalising young people. The division is not absolute, since many programmes focus on actors on multiple levels, but it offers a distinction that might be useful when choosing an intervention.
The first cluster is formed by programmes in which youths are the participants. These mainly aim to boost resilience against radicalisation by enhancing group inclusion, social skills, and school performance.
The second cluster refers to programmes that try to change the direct environment of youths by offering training to parents and first-line practitioners like teachers, youth workers, prison and police officers, imams, psychologists, etc. The ARMOUR project belongs to this group. These programmes aim to improve awareness and knowledge and offer parents and practitioners tools to deal with causal factors in their interactions with children.
The third group covers programmes aimed at policy and law makers to make them understand how policies and broader state response can be inclusive and more effective.
After offering a few samples of practices from each group of programmes, some conclusions on the successful elements of previously executed programmes are listed. These can be used as guidelines when shaping new interventions.
Recognising the difficulties in determining the general effectiveness of preventive programmes, a few remarks should be made:
all programmes should be valued in their own context;
the quality of programmes can be enhanced by evaluating plan, process and effect;
their level of effectiveness is supported best by psychological and social theory completed with practical experiences and feedback from trainers and participants.
We have also included directions to other collections of preventive programmes. We hope that they will inspire practitioners to effectively contribute to preventing radicalisation among young people.
The report can be found in our Deliverables Section (see Work Package 4 ‘Integrating best practices and training’, Deliverable D4.1 ‘Report on best practices in countering radicalization and polarization among young people’).