We began dreaming

The Głogów-based Association for Children and Young People CHANCE began implementing their Lower Silesian Campaign Against Hate Speech in 2014 together with Amnesty International Norway. The project targeted young people aged fifteen and sixteen.

Amnesty International Norway was the most desired partner because of their extensive experience in the field of human rights and hate speech preventing education. The Norwegian partner assisted CHANCE Association in drafting training programmes, evaluation methods, and publications – in direct meetings and consultations over the web. Three study visits were important project component, allowing young people to observe actual work progress in Norway.

Bilateral co-operation yielded a Stories of Hate publication produced by young participants. It was based on interviews with peers – hate speech victims. The stories were intended as guidelines for young people (reacting to hate speech) and an educational tool for teachers (for use in class). Amnesty International Norway was an active participant in the process of drafting the publication as an educational tool, suggesting teaching scripts and ways of using the stories. Furthermore, the meeting and overall co-operation format resulted in the creation of a training programme for young activists and trainers, and of web applications helpful in preventing hate speech. Project tools will be used both by the Polish and Norwegian organisations.

Young study visit participants attended also workshops on human rights, activism, and campaign management methods. They met representatives of the Norwegian No Hate Speech Movement campaign, employees and young people of the European Wergeland Centre, and staff of Café Condio – an intercultural project for young people managed by the Norwegian Red Cross. Thanks to all these meetings, participants were offered an opportunity to share their experience in working to prevent racism, discrimination, and hate speech.

Guests from The European Wergeland Centre Chance association

Project participants were particularly impressed by Café Condio and the Wergeland Centre, and expressed wishes to create a similar venue in Głogów: a venue focusing on direct contact with young people and their needs, a venue formed and shaped by young people themselves. The way both centres are operated proved inspiring to all: the Café and Centre are much more than places for young people to spend free time: they can expand their knowledge, learn new skills, and engage in anti-discrimination activities.

Upon their return from Norway, project participants set to work. Many debates were held alongside extensive consultations with the Norwegian partner. This is how project co-ordinator Dariusz Grzemny described the process; “We organised a meeting with young people to find out more about their needs. We began dreaming, but did not stop there. We also began looking for funds to help our dream come true, and gave our project a working name: the Głogów Youth Embassy”.

The organisation managed to raise a part of the sum required to adapt Association premises for purposes of the future café. An architectonic design was created, the architect and future young tenants working on it hand in hand. The organisation secured all the permits required; construction works are in progress. “It’s truly amazing – what one visit to Oslo and meeting people can do in terms of working to bring positive change,” Grzemny says.

Article and photos provided by the Polish NGO program operator.

Read more about the Polish NGO program here.

Read more about the EEa and Norway grants here.

 


Article published on 01 June 2016