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‘Brothers’ help prevent violence among young men

‘Brothers’ help prevent violence among young men
© ‘Brothers’ project

The ‘Brothers’ pilot project which is co-funded by the European Social Fund in the German federal state of Lower Saxony helps prevent violence among young men, including those with a migrant or refugee background. The project scored highly in an evaluation commissioned by the German Forum for Crime Prevention.

Many conflicts among young men with an immigrant background begin with a perceived need to defend their dignity or honour.Their own experiences of violence, potential language deficiencies, and their perceived lack of prospects and traditional role models can lead to a spiral of toxic masculinity and ultimately to violence.

The ‘Brothers’ concept brings together young men with similar life experiences and offers them a space for exchange. In training sessions, a ‘Brother’ learns to question gender stereotypes and honour-based norms of masculinity, and then shares and passes on his knowledge in a peer-to-peer approach during workshops in school classes and youth groups.

Lower Saxony’s European affairs minister Wiebke Osigus is convinced: ‘The concept filled a gap in integration, because the special needs of young refugee men had so far hardly been taken into account. The project, which makes integration a matter of honour among brothers, has proven itself.’

The young people involved had ‘developed a more open and empathetic attitude through their participation in the project,’ according to the evaluation report by the Camino Institute.

It revealed that the participants were less likely to condone violence and ‘harshness’ in enforcing cultural ‘rules’. For the young people who took part, the project brought about considerable progress in their understanding of gender justice.

Project details

Project name
Brothers - Prevention of violence among (refugee) young people
Bonveno Göttingen gGmbH
Project start
Project end
Contact details
Dr. Michael Bonder
+49 (0)551 50091-0
Total budget
€202 896.38
EU Budget contribution
€338 160.64