The Challenge

For many of us it can be difficult to understand why anyone would turn to violent extremism. What is clear is that violence is often a desperate and misguided response to a negative life experience.

Evidence shows that the long term solution to tackling violent extremism lies in prevention.

The most effective way to prevent young people from turning to violence is to encourage open and honest conversations on attitudes, ideas and choices in a safe and positive environment.

Our Approach

Changing attitudes and entrenched behaviours is difficult, but this is our expertise. We understand that tackling such issues requires far more than making a playful experience or developing an information resource.

We think this is an exciting new resource which builds on existing knowledge about radicalisation and engages young people in a non-dogmatic way. It is flexible enough to adapt to feedback from the students and therefore can be an ongoing resource.

- Prof Lynn Davies, School of Education, Birmingham University and author of 'Educating against Extremism'

What we did

Choices and Voices is an interactive simulation encouraging young people to explore and discuss the underlying issues and adverse influences, which can lead to divisions and tensions in communities. In various scenarios the player faces a number of moral dilemmas in which their decisions define their own outcomes, as well as and those of their friends and family.

Although everyone begins the game with the same choices available, each player will have made a different set of decisions which substantially alter the outcome of their game. The structured group discussions that follow playing the game build on this, to further emphasise how real life decisions can have significant consequences.

The benefits

  • Promotes understanding and critical conversation on belief systems, as well as social and economic inequality
  • Encourages productive teamwork in response to difficulties and grievances to get students to learn together, develop their social skills and empathy and work towards a safe and cohesive community.
  • Emphasises commonality and respecting differences between students.

Key Messages and Themes

  • Peer pressure and the seductive powers of adventure and secrecy
  • Social exclusion, isolation and the effects of not fitting in
  • Bullying, humiliation and exposure to violence
  • Feelings of underachievement and the need for purpose and respect

The Outcomes

  • Used within 600+ schools within Birmingham and the South West.
  • 60,000+ users
  • 100+ school-based officers trained
  • Spawned the development of a primary school version.