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Notes from the Ground

New Tactics in Human Rights: Engaging Youth to Reduce Violence

Published August 17, 2015

In the spring of 2010, the New Tactics in Human Rights program launched the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Initiative to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders in the MENA region. This new phase of the program included training local human rights activists in the New Tactics 5-Step Strategic Effectiveness method.

After learning the Strategic Effectiveness method, Fotouh Younes, with the Arab Network for Civic Education, became one of the local trainers. She used the New Tactics method in working with youth at a university in Salt, Jordan. Historically, inter-tribal violence has been a problem in the community. When Fotouh and the group examined this problem, they saw that the most influential community members were from an older generation. The youth Fotouh was working with wanted to join the discussion on violence so they could be part of the solution and influence their community.

While the violence was among and between youth, the older community leaders were addressing the situation in very traditional ways that did not engage the youth. Through the New Tactics method, the group set a goal to change the image of the youth, have their opinions and ideas heard, and be more responsible for their behaviors.

To achieve this goal, the group created a community leader council of individuals from multi-generations. While this council had a budget to implement particular activities, the youth also planned activities to address tribal conflicts.

One particular event – a music showcase – demonstrated local youth musical talent and was quite successful. While previous events usually ended early because of lack of interest, the music showcase had a full crowd until the official closing time.

Through the new council, the image of the youth is changing. The elder community leaders are beginning to recognize the input and ideas of the youth, and the youth are beginning to feel valued and influential.  Working together, youth inter-tribal violence is now being addressed more proactively and the progress is considered successful by both the youth and the older generations.

New Tactics in Human Rights is a program of CVT. Through the 5-Step Strategic Effectiveness method, the program trains human rights defenders how to work more effectively so they can achieve their goals and better address human rights violations around the world.

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