IMPACT Europe toolkit training session in Vienna with OSCE

After the four training sessions held in February, on Friday 11th March, the IMPACT Europe team ran an ad hoc training session in Vienna for over 20 project and policy officers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other national and local-level organisations and agencies. The session was designed: to present the newly developed IMPACT Europe design and evaluation toolkit for counter-violent-extremism programmes, to train participants in the use of the tool, and to gather their feedback on it. The participants came from a variety of programmes, evaluation teams, policy units, and police and counter terrorism departments, bringing to the table a wealth of experience with and exposure to designing, running, and evaluating counter- violent-extremism interventions and programmes.

Initial discussions within the group focussed on specific challenges in the participants’ daily work. These include influencing governmental policies in the member countries; addressing tensions between security considerations and human rights in countries that are still building democratic institutions; good governance and the rule of law. Becca Gomby of the International Security and Counter-Terrorism Academy (ISCA) then guided participants through the toolkit. Many insightful questions were asked relating to how the evidence that fed into the toolkit was gathered, what interventions and evaluations are included, how the quality of the data was assured and how it will be checked in future.

Participants were keen to test the toolkit themselves and share it with their colleagues. Responses to the toolkit were positive and included statements that described it as a useful resource, as well as a tool with the potential to make a real difference among practitioners.  Some practitioners attending the training stressed that the toolkit carried an impressive amount of information and represented a valuable starting point for learning about performing better evaluations.

Towards the end of the session, Freek Hermens of the Verwey-Jonker Instituut (VJI) outlined the next steps of the IMPACT Europe project, which will involve further testing of the toolkit, getting in touch with training participants for feedback, and refining the toolkit based on the results of the piloting.

[Image shared by Miroslav Petrasko via Flickr; CC BY 2.0]