Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration

Iraqi Civil Society Support – Germany and Iraq

Project Summary

The project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” deals with three thematic areas, that are closely connected to forced migration and root causes of refugee movements. Those thematic areas are: Violent Extremism, Water Security, and Role of Youth and local civil society post Daesh (ISIS).

DOZ supported three local civil society organizations from ICSSI network in Iraq with capacity building workshops through inviting 6 members of three selected local Iraqi CSOs, each CSO nominated one female and one male representative, total 6 persons who got invited by DOZ to Leipzig, Germany and received capacity building workshops by German specialized trainers in various areas that included: Establishing and Managing a CSO, Community Participation, Project Management, German Civil Society Structures, Nonviolence Movement, Multiculturalism and Extremism, Knowledge Transfer and Peacebuilding, The 5,3 km Leipzig Music Track  for Peace, Role of Arts in Peacebuilding, Conflict Management and Communication, Sport as a Tool for Nonviolence and Preventing Extremism, and Journey into German History through Excursions in Leipzig city in Germany.

After the six Iraqi CSOs representatives accomplished their trainings in 2 weeks at DOZ in Leipzig, Germany, they went back to Iraq to transfer the knowledge they gained in Germany to other local Iraqi CSOs and counterparts within local Iraqi civil society. DOZ supported the three selected Iraqi CSOs to plan and implement similar capacity building workshops for other local CSOs in Iraq including youth, girls, and local civil society groups. Thet local Iraqi partners organized other activities under this project in Iraq.

The project was funded by GIZ through Center of International Migration and Development (CIM). DOZ implemented this project in Iraq in cooperation with the ICSSI Network and Un Ponte Per (UPP).

Funded by GIZ – CIM

In Cooperation with UPP and ICSSI in Iraq

Activities Implemented Under This Project

Project kick-off in Baghdad, Iraq – From Baghdad to Leipzig

In preparation for the upcoming workshops in Leipzig as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, members of the UPP/ICSSI group met in Baghdad on March 13, 2019. The goal was to introduce participants to knowledge about Germany in terms of geography, political history, and society. Starting with a geographical overview, the historical development, the economic situation, and finally cultural and social topics were discussed. In addition, the participants showed a great interest in social issues, integration, and human rights. Thus, the program helped the participants to prepare for the upcoming trip for our project in Germany.

Didactic methods – a workshop in Leipzig on 20.03.2019

The first day in Germany for our Iraqi guests.

Participation and Community – A Workshop on 21.03.2019 in Leipzig

On the second day of the visit of our Iraqi guests from three local Iraqi CSOs, we held a workshop at Pöge-Haus Leipzig about participation and community engagement. The six guests as well as four participants from DOZ e.V. Leipzig took part in the workshop and helped create an open, productive atmosphere over the course of the day.

To start the workshop, we collectively analyzed the meaning of community in concrete terms, and in which forms communities can occur. Afterwards, attention turned to personal involvement in different communities, and we discovered in which spaces communities overlap. Using workshop methods, we were able to elaborate on the space in which all of the members contribute to shared communities, thus creating a bond between the participants.

To conclude, everyone presented a visualization of personal involvement to examine how the communities we grew up in helped shape us and the reality of the people close to us. 

Introduction to Project Management Workshop – 22.03.2019 in Leipzig

On 22.03.2019, as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”,  we held an all-day workshop on the subject of Project Management at Pöge-Haus in Leipzig, which was attended by 6 participants from Iraq and 4 members of DOZ e.V.

Over the course of day, we used a case study to discuss the entire project management cycle. This took us from the development of an idea, through to writing funding applications, right up until successful project implementation, along with the necessary bureaucratic elements.

The result was that participants refreshed their knowledge or gained new insights for moving forward with the project ‘Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration’, which they could take back with them to Iraq. The event provided everyone with great impetus for continuing with the joint venture over the upcoming months.

German Civil Society and NGOs Structures – A Workshop on 23.03.2019 in Leipzig

On 23.03.19 we had a short seminar about associations in Germany, which was attended by our Iraqi visitors from ICSSI as well as the facilitators of DOZ e.V. who firstly presented, how associations are organised here in general.

Afterwards we concentrated on the work of DOZ e.V. to show what kinds of needs and possibilities exist in the working field of the association. As a special example we introduced the procedure of health associations in Germany, which was highly appreciated by the participants.

As an event related to this topic, we subsequently attended the AOK springtime race. This workshop was part of our project „Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration“.

The Concept of Nonviolence – A workshop on 03/25/2019

As part of the cooperation between DOZ and UPP/ICSSI, a workshop with a group of activists from Iraq was held at Pöge House in Leipzig on Monday, 25/03/2019, highlighting three main topics: the culture of nonviolence, democratic society and political education.

In the first session of the workshop, there was an in-depth discussion on the culture of nonviolence and related concepts, from culture about violence and its types to determining the meaning of a culture of nonviolence and ways to bring about peaceful change in society.

The second session focused on the theme of democratic society, which is the main goal of nonviolent struggle. The characteristics of democratic society and the role of civil society in consolidating the values of democracy in society were discussed. During the discussion, the participants addressed the difficulties in their work in Iraq. During the training, participants developed preliminary plans for practical activities that they can organize and implement on the ground after returning to Iraq. The last part of the workshop was “Civil Education” as an essential and effective tool for spreading democratic awareness and promoting political participation.

Multiculturalism and Extremism – A Workshop on 26.03.2019 in Leipzig

In the framework of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” and in cooperation of DOZ and UPP/ICSSI, a workshop with the trainee group from Iraq took place on Tuesday, 26.03.2019, in the Pöge-Haus in Leipzig, where three main topics were discussed: Extremism in a multicultural society, Examples of extremism in Germany.

In the first session, participants discussed the topic of multiculturalism and extremism in a diverse culture in terms of its causes, forms and approaches. The second topic of the workshop focused on some forms of extremism in Europe, especially in Germany, where the documentary film “Masar aljihad fi uruba” (The Way of Jihad in Europe) was presented and discussed. The third and final session focused on the misunderstandings that can arise from the differences between cultures in terms of the need to understand and distinguish from extreme or discriminatory behavior and discuss how to deal with it.

The workshop included several exercises and different training methods for participants to share their knowledge and experience in the topics covered by the workshop with the target group through their organizations.

Finally, the conclusions and results of the training day were discussed and the participants revealed what important information they received and what new skills they acquired during the workshop.

Leipzig City Tour with our Iraqi Guests

On 27.03.19, as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, we organised a city tour by tram and by foot. We climbed the 91 meter high Monument to the Battle of the Nations, from which we had an incredible view over the city. Afterwards we went to the Russian-Orthodox Church and gained a brief insight into the religious practice there. The city tour culminated with a visit to the University of Leipzig and Paulinum, from where we went to a café to share the experiences we had accumulated over the previous days and the newly acquired knowledge about politics, history and religion in Germany in comparison to Iraq.

Knowledge Exchange About Peace between DOZ, LaOnf and Friedenskreis in Halle

On 28.03.2019, we visited Friedenskreis Halle with members of LaOnf to discuss non-violent approaches to strengthening civil solidarity in both Germany and Iraq. This visit was part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”.

Friedenskreis presented their ongoing work on the local level, and LaOnf described their various initiatives to combat violence in their home cities. It was surprising how many similarities could be seen with regard to implementing activities, particularly with regard to establishing trust and motivating involvement among potential participants.

Films were shown on the subject of discrimination in Germany and the work being done by the representatives of LaOnf in their hometowns. The attendees from Iraq were surprised to hear that there were also social conflicts to be resolved in Germany!

Overall, this was a highly valuable exercise for all involved, with knowledge being shared from both sides and transnational bonds between civil society groups being greatly strengthened.

Friedenskreis Halle e.V. also reported about our visit:

Walking the Music Trail with Arts of Peace from Iraq in Leipzig

On the last days of our Training of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, we divided the group of Iraqi visitors into 3 teams, in order to give them specific practical experiences that suit their work in Iraq. On 28.03.2019 the team of Arts of Peace discovered the 5.3 km long Leipzig Music Trail. We went to the Museum of Musical Instruments, which contains Germany’s largest collection of musical instruments, with more than 5000 pieces on show. The collection was attended very enthusiastically, and took a few hours to see. We subsequently paid a visit to the Zeitgeschichtliche Forum with the current exhibition “Dictatorship and Democracy since 1945” and gained a further insight into German history.

From Leipzig with Love to Baghdad – Street Art for Nonviolence in Leipzig

On the last days of our Training of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, we divided the group of Iraqi visitors into 3 teams, in order to give them specific practical experiences that suit their work in Iraq. On 29.03.2019, we made an excursion to the west of the city to discover the street-art scene in Plagwitz. We saw a very different, alternative side to the local culture, encompassing the canal construction, brick ruins and the graffiti along Gießerstraße. We held a live art performance beside the Karl-Heine Canal, featuring the slogan ‘From Leipzig with Love to Baghdad’, during which we had a lot of fun and creative experiences.

Conflict Management and Communication – A Workshop in Leipzig

As part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, on 29.03.2019 we held a workshop on the subject of conflict management and communication at Pöge-Haus Leipzig, which was attended by two members of LaOnf.

To kick off the workshop we discussed the main conflicts that emerge in the projects organised by LaOnf as well as the different forms of conflict, bullying, and discrimination, before finally turning to potential solutions for escalating conflicts.

The importance of trainers and their constructive options for resolving a situation of discrimination were mentioned, as well as general techniques and strategies that can be used in an arising conflict.

During the workshop, we enjoyed a very open and personal atmosphere, where everyone had the opportunity to communicate their own experiences with conflicts and analyse them together with the group.

It will now be possible for the members of LaOnf to apply what they have learned in their field of work in Iraq.

Preventing Violence and Extremism through Sport – An Exchange between Experts from Leipzig and Baghdad in Leipzig

In the framework of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” and in cooperation of DOZ and UPP/ICSSI, a group workshop on the topic of “Sport against Violence” with participants from Iraq took place in Leipzig on the days of March 28 and 29, 2019.

It started with a round of dialogue with experts on the topic of sports and integration: Julian Haug – integration officer of the Stadtsportbund Leipzig e.V. – , Olivia Wohlfahrt – expert in sports management – and Claas Pollmanns – sociologist, social worker and youth trainer. Different sports activities and their benefits in peace processes and anti-discrimination were highlighted and discussed. In addition, the participants were introduced to the program of the International Trainer Courses at the University of Leipzig and its goals and significance. Experiences with discrimination of women in sports and how to deal with it as well as the structure of a sports coaching plan were also discussed using concrete examples. The goal is to transfer a similar plan to Iraq. At the end of the meeting, a future communication plan was drawn up, with the Leipzig Sports Federation very much welcoming any form of future cooperation.

The following day, a visit to FC Blau-Weiß Leipzig was on the agenda. A club member gave information about the history of the club: especially about how the club dealt with discrimination and racism, about the difficult circumstances and the club ban during the time of National Socialism, about the subsequent revival of the club, the financial problems of the 1990s, the current sports teams of the club and especially about the women’s sports teams.  Here, too, contacts were exchanged and further cooperation was discussed.

After a small coffee break and an informal meeting with Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Eckehard Schulz, Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Leipzig, was followed by a joint excursion to the boxing club Olympia Leipzig 05 e.V. The aim was to learn how the founding of a club works and to understand the history behind martial arts. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to meet athletes from different backgrounds and to exchange experiences. The visit gave the participants a deeper insight into club sports as well as structures and organization in Germany. At the same time, competencies of anti-discrimination and peace processes through sports were discussed and debated.

Sport for Peace – A Multiplier Workshop in Baghdad

From May 31 to June 1, 2019, a sports workshop on violence prevention took place in Baghdad as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”. Under the motto “Sport for Peace”, participants learned about the use of sport as a tool against violence and extremism with the group Sports Against Violence. Key points of the two workshop days were on the one hand methods of sports event and activity planning and on the other hand the use of sports as a social, conflict-solving tool. From more detailed planning of sports activities, such as problem analysis, team coordination and targeting, to general questions about ways to use sports to prevent violence, participants learned about the many uses of community sports. “For the first time, I feel like our work has an open space and room to work on peace issues. “, stated one workshop participant. The sports workshop created a good foundation for confronting violence and extremism in a new way in the future.

Arts of Peace – With Art to Peace,  Multiplier Workshop in Baghdad

On June 28-29, 2019, the Arts of Peace workshop was held in Baghdad as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”. During 6 hours of training per day, participants learned about the concept of art as a tool to counter violence and extremism. The first workshop day was used for basic topics. Different art tools were discovered and the function and benefits of art inside and outside Iraq were discussed. The second day was spent planning and implementing art actions, activities and events. The final task was to design a campaign that would portray the problems of the country and society through art. In order to train the transmission of messages through artistic expression, the workshop was concluded by a performance of musicals. In conclusion, we are happy to report that the workshop expanded the participants’ awareness of art and community as an effective social tool against violence.

Anti-Violence Management – Multiplier Workshop in Baghdad

From July 10 to 11, 2019, the non-violence training with LaOnf group took place in Baghdad. The topic of mechanisms of non-violent means against extremism and hatred is part of the concept of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”. The desired goal was to strengthen the skills of LaOnf members in the conceptual framework of the group’s interests. However, training the youth on campaign management and raising awareness of specific means to combat violence were also important components of the workshop. Trainers Mahmoud Alhiti and Ghailan Hamzah said, “From this two-day workshop, we learned that it’s important to give people the opportunity to learn more about nonviolence experiences and their implications for peacebuilding.” Overall, participants gained in-depth knowledge on anti-violence management through various tasks, exercises, discussions and methods.

Sports against Violence – Workshop for Young People in Baghdad

As part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration”, another training for non-violence and peacebuilding took place in Baghdad with the group Sports Against Violence. From September 12 to 14, 2019, 17 young participants aged 15 to 27 participated in our three-day workshop. Together they explored the design of nonviolent work, the concept of violent extremism, and different approaches to solving problems of violence. At the same time, some future plans were made, such as recruiting new volunteers for a sports group against violence or forming teams to participate in the implementation of campaigns already developed in the workshop. The feedback from participants was positive. In particular, participants without workshop experience were highly motivated to continue the work.

Art against Violence – Workshop for Young People in Baghdad

On the days of September 26 and 27, 2019, the Art of Peace group held its second workshop as part of our project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” in Baghdad. On the first day, the group of 21 participants dealt with theoretical questions about art in a nonviolent context. At the same time, the concept of an exhibition was introduced. In this context, they looked more closely at how art can be expressed through colors, angles, light and images. The second day included the practical part, in which each group began to work on their artistic means, to continue working on artworks created and to finish them. One of the workshop leaders Hussein Ameer summed up, “All my life I’ve worked with musical instruments, but when I met all the people with different backgrounds and hopes who used different means, I learned from them that it’s possible to make a difference in our country.”

Arts of Peace Exhibition in Tahrir Square, Baghdad

As part of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” and in collaboration between DOZ and UPP/ICSSI, an art exhibition was held in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Around 700 people visited the exhibition of Art of Peace, which was exhibited as part of our project in Baghdad. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 12 paintings, 40 photos and musical interludes could be viewed. The thematic framework of the artworks were acts of peace as well as the use of violence in demonstrations.

An exhibiting artist of the group reported about his works: “My paintings show insights into the life of a demonstrator. They document the important moments when violence is used on demonstrators, but also the moments when young protesters resist arbitrariness, tear gas, and police violence.”

The exhibition also served to define new goals and projects. Thus, it strengthened team cohesion as well as motivation to work more on peace and anti-violence issues. In the process, the participants learned a lot about the use of art and creativity to prevent violence and support peace processes.

Preventing Violence and Extremism – Youth workshop in Baghdad

As part of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” and in collaboration between DOZ and UPP/ICSSI, a workshop was held in Baghdad, Iraq on the weekend of December 27-28, 2019 by the group LaOnf on the topic of violence and extremism prevention.

The workshop program consisted of numerous reflections, exercises and debates. On the one hand, it was about understanding violent extremism and its prevention. At the same time, nonviolence was defined and discussed as an instrument for change and building social peace. On the other hand, it was about practical work on constructive campaigns and mechanisms for the formation of nonviolent working groups as well as the management and implementation of projects and nonviolent activities.

The participants’ impressions were positive. One participant reported on his experience: “This is the first time I have participated in such a workshop. I didn’t know that nonviolence offers so many opportunities to make a difference. Participating helped me understand that we are able to prevent violent extremism by learning nonviolent methods of action.”

Ultimately, the workshop demonstrated the importance of training young people on extremism prevention and nonviolence, creating awareness as well as experience in this area. A desire arose among the workshop leaders to have the same opportunity to provide similar training to a larger number of active people in the future. In this way, it would be possible to increase the engagement with nonviolence as well as the motivation to become more involved in peace and anti-violence issues.

Bicycles through Baghdad – Peaceful Protest by Sports against Violence

On Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, a bicycle ride took place in Baghdad, Iraq at al-Tahrir Square as part of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Migration” and in cooperation of DOZ and UPP/ICSSI.

In order to collectively set a sign of peaceful protest, around 53 young people cycled together from Tahrir Square to Abu Nawas Street. Through the event, sport was used as a peaceful means of protest and thus became a symbol of peace not only for the participants but also for the bystanders.

One participant explained that the bicycle is an environmentally friendly symbol as well as a healthy means of activity. In addition to physical activity, he said, it is also a kind of multiplier of the demonstrators’ voices and means of communication of their activism in the streets. The event showed the organizers that many young and open-minded people are interested in and committed to peaceful protest. They want to draw attention to themselves through sporting activities as well as create a space of solidarity and together create a peaceful society.

Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Post-ISIS Iraq – A Dialogue Session in Hit on Feb. 14, 2020

Panel discussion on “The Principle of Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in the Post-ISIS Period” organized by our Iraqi partners of the منتدى السلام في هيت – Peace Forum in Hit in cooperation with DOZ International the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative-ICSSI and Un Ponte Per as part of the project “Preventing Violent Extremism as a Root Cause of Extremism” funded by GIZ and #CIM.

You can also See Video on Facebook Link below:

#PVE #Peacebuilding #Youth #CVE #KnowledgeTransfer

The End

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