iDove is built on the conviction that violent extremism can only be successfully prevented through "soft power" approaches at the level of civil society. By building on existing initiatives and supporting young people's engagement in both Africa and Europe, iDove strives to develop non-violent approaches to problem solving that strengthen social cohesion and to create a forum for exchange and mutual learning. Or as Mr. Wane El-Ghassim, Chief of Staff of the AU Commission, put it:
iDove was created as a youth led, bottom up approach to prevent violent extremism. It engages youth who are academics, policy makers, community workers and creatives.
It succeeds in transcending borders and continents to bring brilliant minds together to design effective solutions.
Next to innovative communication strategies, iDove draws on the soft power of religious values to develop effective Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) approaches. While religion is often instrumentalized as a legitimizing factor for violence, iDove stresses that religion also needs to be part of the solution. Based on their reach and credibility, iDove views religious groups and communities as crucial players in enabling preventive measures and strengthening social cohesion.
Among the many activities taking place under the umbrella of iDove since its launch in February 2017, the development of a Training and Training of Trainers Manual is a flagship project, which generates a lot of interest even beyond the iDove community. In la Grande Halle de la Villette, where 65 Heads of States as well as 10 leaders of international organizations had gathered to discuss today's global governance challenges, iDove was offered the chance to publicly present its Training and Training of Trainers Manual for the first time.
Combining innovative youth-lead approaches with religious perspectives, the iDove training seeks to empower youth to play an active role in PVE and building cohesive communities. Designed as a two-day interactive workshop for 15-20 participants, the training comprises six modules:
Identity and Community
Understanding and Responding to Violent Extremism
Intercultural and Interreligious Resources, and
The Role of Youth in the Community.
The training offers guidelines and stresses the importance to adapt activities to their respective context. The implementation of the local trainings, even though youth-led, is actively encouraged and supported by the iDove project. A Training of Trainers (ToT) pilot took place in Addis Ababa earlier this year with two more trainings and one ToT planned each in Niger, Liberia and the Balkan region during the upcoming months.
Please follow iDove on Twitter and watch out for #youthagainstextremism
iDove is a joint youth project by the PaRD members African Union Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (AUC-CIDO) and Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and supported by the PaRD "Sustaining Peace" work-stream. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and ReligionMatters@giz.de for any general enquiries and regarding the manual.