The Young Men Initiative (YMI) targets youth in order to build their knowledge and attitudes concerning gender equality and healthy lifestyles, and to reduce all types of violence in school and community environments across the Balkans. CARE and partners organization were developing the new model for working on prevention of extremism and radicalization among youth in the previous three years which has been documented by the new case study – Working with Youth at Risk in the Balkans, A Case Study on Program Y+.
One of the fresh approaches and ideas in youth program development was the creation of a new educational program specially tailored for youth at risk in the Balkans. The Program was based on CARE’s gender transformative programming, its main focus being the prevention of youth extremism and radicalism. In early 2019, CARE and partner organizations began the development of a new plus model of Program Y(outh) as a response to the changing environment and demand for counter-radicalization of youth. The initial idea of the piloting was to address the issue of extremism and radicalization among youth at risk, out-of-school youth, juvenile delinquents, and unemployed youth.
The piloted Program Y+ models in Belgrade, Banja Luka, Zagreb, Tirana and Prishina achieved success by applying different approaches and methods with over 500 participants (youth, parents, teachers, social workers) and the main findings show that participating partner organizations demonstrated creativity and dedication, and that their specific approaches were of high quality. Implemented activities were very beneficial for youth participants and Y+ proved itself as a promising prevention program in this area.
The Case Study is developed within the project “Men and Boys as Partners in Promoting Gender Equality and the Prevention of Youth Extremism and Violence in the Balkans” funded by Oak Foundation and the Austrian Development Cooperation and implemented by CARE International Balkans in cooperation with the following civil society organizations: Perpetuum Mobile (Banja Luka), Center E8 (Belgrade), Status M (Zagreb), SIT Center for Counseling, Social Services and Research and and Act for Society Centre (Tirana).