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Youth Mentoring Gants to help tackle violent extremism

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Hon. Robert McClelland MP Attorney-General

Attorney-General Media Release Page 1 of 4


Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced more than $1.1 million in funding for projects to mentor and support young people to stay disengaged from intolerant and radical ideologies.

The grants, announced in November last year, have been awarded under the Building Community Resilience - Youth Mentoring Grants Program, and are designed to promote a tolerant, safe and inclusive society.

The Building Community Resilience - Youth Mentoring Grants Program is a key part of the Government’s $9.7 million investment in counter radicalisation initiatives.

“The program will support activities that directly support young people away from intolerant and radical ideologies and encourage positive participation in the community,” Mr McClelland said.

“Communities have told us that they want the assistance and resources to play a more active role in countering violent extremism.

“Effective community engagement is a key component of the Government’s approach to building a stronger and more resilient community that can resist violent extremism.

“With nearly 100 applications, the Government received overwhelming interest in the program, reflecting the community’s commitment to developing local initiatives to prevent extremism amongst our young people.”

Inaugural recipients of the Government’s Youth Mentoring Grants, include:

• Australian Multicultural Foundation - Australian Muslim Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program; • JobQuest - Mentoring and Resiliency Development Project; • Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre - Voices of Change; • Islamic Women Welfare Council of Victoria - Aman: Youth for Peace-Building; • New Australian Media - Media Makers; • Anglicare Sydney - Aussie Youth Connect; and • Hume City Council - Hume Anti-Violent Extremism Youth (HAVEY) Project.

“Research shows a range of personal experiences can make young people more vulnerable to extremist messages, for example: discrimination, prejudice and marginalisation, social isolation, and worries about employment and educational opportunities,” Mr McClelland said.

“Through this program, we want to help young people develop skills to deal with these issues in a positive way, while at the same time reducing the appeal of extremist or radical ideologies.”

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The grants complement existing Commonwealth, State and Territory initiatives and will:

• provide mentoring to individuals that are identified as vulnerable to extremist views; • equip communities, especially youth, with the skills and resources to actively address intolerance and discourage extremist views; • reinforce the important role youth play in the community in addressing and countering issues

around violent extremism; and • educate communities and individuals about countering extremist views and the avenues available to support them.

The Government’s Counter-Terrorism White Paper: ‘Securing Australia, Protecting Our Community’, acknowledged the risk of home grown terrorism and highlighted the importance of building a strong and resilient community to resist violent extremism and terrorism.

Further information about the successful projects is attached.

Information about the Building Community Resilience - Youth Mentoring Grants Program is available at

Contact: Ryan Liddell - 02 6277 7300 or 0427 225 763

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Recipients of the 2011-12

Building Community Resilience Youth Mentoring Grants

Australian Multicultural Foundation - Australian Muslim Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program

This project will equip 16 young Australian Muslim leaders from around Australia with the skills to represent their communities. Through training and peer mentoring they will be assisted to overcome any alienation they may feel, and to engage with the broader community to discount negative perceptions and dispel myths and inaccuracies about Islam. The topics covered in the training will include talking to the media, engaging with prominent leaders, conducting focus groups, public speaking, communicating, writing skills and developing proposals and mentorship skills. Following the intensive training, the youth leaders will return to their communities to complete specific tasks including peer mentoring, presentations to the broader community and community consultations to inform the development of a national youth-led event for Muslim and non-Muslim youth.

JobQuest - Mentoring and Resiliency Development Project

This project addresses the development of key social, emotional and interpersonal issues among vulnerable young people in the setting of schools and community organisations. It is designed to facilitate effective social interaction in a culturally diverse environment. The project, with group training and individual mentoring, will assist participants to deal with conflicts, handle frustrations and disappointments encountered in daily life and involve families and community members to model acceptable behaviours. This will enhance the psychosocial wellbeing of participants and help them to disengage from ideologies of violent extremism.

Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre - Voices of Change

The project will develop youth mentors and ambassadors that feel empowered to speak out on the extremist ideas and work with ‘at risk’ youth in their communities. The project will engage young people aged 18 to 28 and provide them with the skills to be mentors for other young people. They will receive training to equip them with the knowledge, skills and resources to influence and mentor other young people in their communities considered vulnerable to violent extremism, and to formulate solutions to tackle or counter intolerance and violent extremist ideologies. The program will include sessions that explore and debate issues in their communities that could lead or contribute to the attraction of intolerant or extremist views. Additionally the project will run an inter-faith camp that will bring together young people from various communities and faith backgrounds to discuss and debate issues around extremism.

Islamic Women Welfare Council of Victoria - Aman: Youth for Peace-Building,

This peace-building project aims to promote mentoring programs amongst young people through school-based activities including group discussions, assignments and creative team projects.

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These activities are intended to provide opportunities for young Muslims to achieve a number of aims, including to voice their opinions, critically analyse situations and increase participation in democratic decision making and conflict resolution. Additionally, the project will run an Islamic secondary schools’ conference. The conference will give teachers the opportunity to reflect on challenges and barriers that Muslim youth experience. This opportunity for teachers will facilitate the development of mentoring skills and strategies to address these issues.

New Australia Media - Media Makers

Media Makers is a media training and mentoring program to link young Muslim Australians in urban and regional areas of Victoria with professional journalists in order to produce news stories that accurately reflect concerns, interests and the character of multicultural Australia. The project will provide training workshops in ethics, interviewing, reporting, writing and multimedia production. Additionally, participants will be matched to suitable mentors, and provided with access to mainstream English language outlets for stories. This project contributes to combating extremism by fostering citizenship, encouraging a culture of rational dialogue and debate in the public sphere, and giving participants tools and models for effective communication both within their communities and the Australian public.

Anglicare Sydney - Aussie Youth Connect

This initiative will train and develop young people to become mentors. These individuals will mentor other young people between the ages of 12-24 years who are vulnerable, disadvantaged and have had difficult life circumstances. The project specifically assists mentees who have exhibited anti-social behaviour, are at risk of offending, and are at risk of having extremist views and be willing to use violence. The program will promote growth and development of the mentee’s self-awareness, self-discipline and provide healthy role models, with the possibility of training them to go on to become mentors in the future. The project includes an eight week training program for mentors and mentees, on topics such as leadership, alternatives to violence and social resilience. Mentors will build community relationships and create opportunities for engagement with young people who may be at risk of extremist views or ideologies of intolerance, leading to poor decision making and anti-social behaviours.

Hume City Council - Hume Anti-Violent Extremism Youth (HAVEY) Project

This program will expose young people to alternative ways of perceiving the world and provide them with the skills to make positive choices through fostering cross-cultural understanding between ethnic groups. It will include being part of celebrations for young people which are designed by themselves and their peers, and to match young people with mentors they can call on for support. The mentoring program will focus on issues such as the needs of young people within their family and community, prevention and early intervention and empowering young people to improve their decision making capabilities.