- Publication date
- 11 January 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
Sports can play a positive and constructive role in the lives of young people. Physical activity can boost their self-confidence and provide young people opportunities to meet and make friendships with other young people. This can lead to positive identity development and a sense of belonging – two protective factors when it comes to the prevention of violent extremism (PVE).
In this way, engaging in sports could help reduce the risk of radicalisation leading to violent extremism. Which elements in sports initiatives have this positive effect? And how can these be utilised by educators and youth workers?
To answer these questions, the RAN Youth & Education (Y&E) working group convened a working session on 30 November and 1 December 2021 to gather insights and tips from sports initiatives on working elements regarding inclusion and PVE.
This paper is based on the insights from the working session and aims to provide educators, youth workers and sports organisers with practical tips on how to foster inclusion through sports.
The following aspects were highlighted as the key outcomes for working on PVE through sports:
- Positive identity development: Provide opportunities to young people to progress, give them leadership roles or the prospect of becoming coaches where possible. Confirm that if they can accomplish something in sports, they can also accomplish it in wider society.
- Fostering social cohesion: Involve participants from the broader community, regardless of their socioeconomic status, culture or religion. Build a community around the project that includes children and young people, as well as parents and others from the neighbourhood.
- Building citizenship: Make use of the potential of sport to let young people come out of their usual environment. Connect them to wider areas of society by letting them experience new activities, bringing them to places they would normally not go to, and meeting people they would probably never encounter. Foster democratic skills by allowing participants to decide on the rules of the games together.
- Reaching the target group: Make sure the coaches and young people in the group are diverse (background and gender). Do not advertise with PVE. The message and incentive to join could be non-material (e.g., have fun or work on personal development), or material (e.g., receive free meals).
- Forging local partnerships: The planning phase is essential. Look for partners who understand the needs of the community. Get to know each other, define a common goal well beforehand and do not rush into collaboration.