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RAN going digital

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are turning to online solutions. In addition to Working Group meetings, we will be hosting a series of five webinars to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange between practitioners.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Working Group meetings, we will be hosting a series of five webinars to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange between practitioners. These webinars will be held over the coming three months, from April to June 2020. Dates are yet to be confirmed. For more information on the webinars see below.


The RAN held its first webinar on 31 March. Alexander Ritzmann (RAN C&N co-chair |Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS)) and Lieke Wouterse (RAN Staff) offered an insightful presentation on the GAMMMA+ model. They turned their presentation into a real-life conversation about each element of the model to explain the planning, implementation and evaluation of alternative and counter-narrative campaigns. Every element was illustrated through a fictional example of a campaign.

More than 270 people registered for the webinar. Participants included practitioners, researchers and policy officials from around Europe and as far as the US and Australia.

The video recording will soon be available on the RAN website.

Getting started with webinars

The RAN is learning the ins and outs of hosting a webinar to ensure these live events go off without a hitch. Most importantly our practitioners will enjoy the benefits of these convenient and easily accessible platforms for information sharing, coaching and brainstorming.

Here’s a brief guide to getting started with webinars.

  • Joining: Simply click the register link in the invitation and fill in the details. A link to join the webinar will be sent to you via email.
  • Equipment: Participants need a device that can connect to the internet.
  • Etiquette: During the webinar, only presenters and moderators can use their microphone and camera. Participants can ask questions (anonymously) in the Q&A section, which will be answered during the webinar.
  • Follow-up: After closing the webinar, participants are redirected to a short survey. Participants will also receive a follow-up email that will provide a link to the recording. An edited version of the video will be posted on RAN’s YouTube channel and on the RAN website. The questions from the Q&A section will not appear in the recording, only the oral answers. This will ensure anonymity for any questions raised.

Upcoming webinars

Building on the success of the 31 March webinar on the GAMMMA+ model, the RAN will host five new webinars. The following webinars have been planned for the coming three months.

  1. Violent-far right extremism – This webinar will explore the topic of violent-far right extremism (RWE), presenting key insights from the RAN factbook on RWE that was published in December 2019. This webinar is aimed at any practitioners interested in the topic of RWE.
  2. Reintegration and rehabilitation – This webinar will explore the topic of reintegration and rehabilitation, presenting key insights from the RAN Rehabilitation Manual. This webinar is aimed at prison and probation professionals, as well as local authorities, communities and other organisations dealing with released terrorist offenders.
  3. Violent-far right extremism and the police – This webinar will explore the topic of violent-far right extremism, providing practical know-how on topic for the police. This webinar is aimed specifically at police officers.
  4. Extremists' use of humour – This webinar will explore the topic of extremists' use of humour. This webinar is aimed at all practitioners but might be of interest to those working with youth, exit workers, teachers and communication and narrative specialists.
  5. RAN YOUNG – This webinar will explore how young people can engage in the prevention of radicalisation and share their knowledge and ideas. This webinar is aimed at young actors who want to participate in the RAN YOUNG programme.

Practitioners working online

Digitalisation has brought many advantages in relation to communication, access to information and education, as well as activism and outreach. When it comes to the prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE), the situation is similar. Digitalisation can help.

A growing number of initiatives are springing up across Europe to reach young people online. A number of these inspiring practices are available in the RAN Collection which can be found on the RAN website. Read more. Several are highlighted below. (Germany) This project is designed to monitor, evaluate and combat hate speech and right-wing extremism online. It targets young people between the age of 13 and 18, particularly those showing signs of radicalisation. In addition to online intervention efforts, the group also coaches on how to counter extremism online. Read more

Les Promeneurs du Net (France) Also known as ‘Web Walkers’ in English, its main task is to encourage positive behaviour on the internet, work on media literacy and create better equipped cyber-citizens. For instance, the group builds relationships with teenagers on online social networks. It organises face-to-face meetings and online workshops with young people. Read more

Digital Literacy (UK)The main aim is to prevent young people from being radicalised by equipping them with the skills to question the content they encounter online. This will help them to recognise the techniques that may be used to influence their ideas, opinions and real life behaviour. The group organises workshops in schools and creates digital resources for teachers. Read more

Web constables (Estonia) Web constables are police officers with active profiles in various social media networks and online forums. They participate in discussions and make themselves available to youth and other users wishing to ask questions. The web constables address cyberbullying cases and reaching out to radical-leaning adolescents. Read more

Guidelines – 10 things to consider before offering counselling online

The Centre for Digital Youth Care (CfDP) has worked to create, provide and guarantee professional help through digital media for vulnerable young people. The Centre provides online counselling, CfDP provides advice to practitioners who are looking to conduct digital youth work. Here they outline ‘10 things to consider before offering counselling online’. However, the principles described can be considered and applied by practitioners delivering other forms of interventions online.

  1. Consider who your target group is. When advising the municipalities regarding online counselling, one of the points we like to emphasise is that it is very hard, if not downright impossible, to make a counselling website that will be used by the entire youth population. We thought so ourselves at the launch of, and as a result, we ended up with a website that was trying to do way too many things at once.
  2. Consider the purpose of your counselling website. It is important to consider exactly what it is that you want to achieve with online counselling. Many tend to believe that the online chat can be used as a tool to make the troubled youth seek help in the “real world”. This view is not necessarily problematic. However, if this becomes influential on the interaction with young people in the digital space, then it is very likely that young people will stop using online counselling.
  3. Framework regarding the counselling offer. Before bringing the chat online, it is important to consider how the chat counselling is framed. Some people may think: “You can run the chat from anywhere, anytime as long as you have a computer”. It is rarely that simple. It is necessary to consider the physical setting as well: How are you sitting and where? What is acceptable to be doing while chatting? Can you take a phone call or answer emails while having a chat session? Is it okay for colleagues to interrupt you during a chat session? As a chat counsellor, you have to be “on”, which means that the chat must have your full and undivided attention.
  4. Advisable to use an interdisciplinary workforce. In some municipalities, the counselling is manned by people from one department, while in others, the team consists of people from a number of different areas. This interdisciplinary approach enables young people to meet people with a lot of different professional backgrounds in the chat, which increases the likelihood that the young person will get the best and most relevant counselling possible. By manning the chat with people from different department, your co-workers also get the opportunity to think of creative ways to use the chat as a tool. This in turn is helpful in implementing the online counselling and integrating it as a useful supplement to your existing municipal practice.
  5. Take care of each other. One piece of feedback which we often receive from the municipalities is that it is advantageous for the counsellors to work in pairs. During digital counselling, you meet young people who talk about complicated problems, and they often start doing so quite early in the conversation. For this reason, the counsellors benefit from knowing that they are not alone, and that they can talk to their fellow counsellor if they need to discuss certain dilemmas where it is useful to have a second opinion.
  6. Use the manual. When the municipalities decide to start offering online counselling, they receive a manual which, among other things, contains experiences and knowledge on online counselling from CDYC. The manual also has some blank pages where the municipalities are free to write down their own practice so that the knowledge from CDYC can be integrated into existing practice. Some municipalities use the manual a great deal and have made it their own while other municipalities tend to almost forget that the manual exists. We recommend using the manual while also continuously noting the ways in which the local practice differs from the practice used at Cyberhus, this way maintaining the high quality of the online counselling.
  7. It takes time. For most people, online counselling is a new tool, and like all new tools, it takes time to master. Being good at meeting young people at eye-level on the street does not necessarily entail that you will immediately be good at chat counselling or responding to posts on the problem page.
  8. Think outside the box. When the municipalities are given access to the chat, they have the option to do 1-1 chats, group-chats and invite-only chat sessions. Everyone begins by doing 1-1 chat sessions, and that is a really good way to get off to a good start. Unfortunately, not many municipalities think beyond this approach. For example, the group-chat format can be used as a way to support eventual physical meetings by placing different young people, who are all trying to deal with a specific kind of problem, in an anonymous virtual space, thereby giving them a sense that they are not alone in having problems.
  9. Spread awareness of the chat at a local level. In our experiences, the municipalities that have had the largest amount of chat visitors are the ones which have put effort into spreading awareness of the local chat. Ways of doing so includes:
    • Making it visible when the chat is open and being so on the locations where the young people hang out in their spare time
    • Collaborating with schools, high schools and the like in order to make the chat visible on their internal digital platforms
    • Using the media kit offered by CfDP.
  10. Municipalities should share their experiences with each other. This bridge-building-concept presently consists of 14 municipalities, many of which have been doing online counselling for several years. During such a process, it makes good sense for municipalities to share their experiences with each other and for new municipalities to reach out to the more well-established ones so that they can benefit from their experiences, both the good and the bad. It is important to remember that ultimately, we are all working with the same kind of young people. And if you, as a newly started municipality, are about to take up online counselling, you will get off to a very good start by seeking advice from municipalities who have had online counselling for quite some time.

This work by CDYC (CPDP) was developed in the project “Digitally Agile Youth Work” with funding from Erasmus+. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at our webpage The full collection includes materials from partners from Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Germany and Denmark. This can be found at

Paper – Doing digital youth work in a P/CVE context

A RAN paper published in December 2019 explores the challenges that practitioners encounter when trying to reach and engage with young people online and provides guidance on how to plan and conduct digital youth work in a P-CVE context. The paper discusses both an approach and the tools required. Read more