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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Intercultural awareness
  2. Young people's rights
  3. Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism

Intercultural awareness

Child and youth services

According to Sections 1 and 3 of the Social Code Book VIII (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB VIII), child and youth services providers in Germany must support all children and adolescents in Germany "in their personal and social development and assist in preventing or minimising disadvantages".

The directives (Richtlinien) of the Child and Youth Plan of the federation (Kinder- und Jugendplan des Bundes) are the framework for the support of international youth work whose aim is also to help to develop intercultural competences of young people. The implementing acts and youth budgets and plans of the federal states contain similar requirements.

In addition to the integration and inclusion strategies of the federal and state governments (see Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Young People) there are programmes, projects, campaigns and initiatives run by and for individual areas of child and youth services. The youth associations run activities, programmes and projects at the federal and state level that ensure the associations remain fully intercultural and to support cooperation with young immigrant community organisations. There is a working group ‘Intercultural openness’ run by the regional youth councils which meets on a regular basis. Amongst others, the German Sports Youth also promotes the approach of intercultural openness in organised children's and youth sport.

The service office Intercultural learning in daycare centres and schools (Interkulturelles Lernen in Kita und Schule) of the Saxony-Anhalt state network for immigrant community organisations (Landesnetzwerk der Migrantenorganisationen Sachsen-Anhalt) is an information and counselling centre for educational staff working in schools and daycare centres in Saxony-Anhalt. It provides advice and counselling to teachers wishing to develop concepts for managing diversity. It offers training courses and coaching on intercultural learning and provides material on developing intercultural learning materials (amongst other things, via the website It supports teachers in developing projects on intercultural learning that will later be implemented together with immigrant community organisations and other civil society partners working in the field.

Youth policy initiative to promote education and participation (Jugendpolitische Initiative für Bildung und Teilhabe, JiVE)

Type: youth policy initiative coordinated by IJAB - International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB - Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V.) divided into several sub-initiatives implemented by various partners.

Time frame: Launched as a pilot project 'JiVE. Youth Work International - Experiencing Diversity' ('JiVE. Jugendarbeit international – Vielfalt erleben') in 2008, followed by youth policy initiative JiVE running from 2011-2018. 

Several sub-initiatives will be continued, e. g. ‘Kommune goes international’, an initiative to strengthen international youth work at the local level, also coordinated by IJAB.

Core aims: to create a more equal playing field, with all partners aiming to open up international youth work activities and projects to all young people, including those who are currently out of reach.

Main outcomes: Recommendations and manuals created and developed in the initiative will still be available at the IJAB website.

Main target groups addressed: Multipliers and young people.

UNESCO Associated Schools (unesco-projekt-schulen)

Type: intercultural education network in Germany comprising around 300 schools.

Time frame: since 1953.

Main target groups: Pupils of primary schools, vocational colleges, grammar schools and progressive school pilots, mainstream state schools, independent schools.

Core aims: to stand up for a culture of peace, which includes human rights, tolerance, democracy, intercultural learning, environment and sustainability and global development.

Main outcomes: Students at UNESCO Associated Schools absorb the values behind these priority areas, learn to form an opinion on them, and take corresponding action: human rights and democracy education, intercultural learning, environmental education, global learning, and respect for UNESCO world heritage.

Young people's rights

On 18 November 2015, former Federal Minister for Youth Manuela Schwesig launched a campaign entitled Standing up for children’s rights (Starkmachen für Kinderrechte). Backed by testimonials from well-known personalities, the campaign is designed to raise awareness of the rights of children and adolescents in everyday contexts. One major item in the Coalition Agreement (Koalitionsvertrag) signed in 2018 by the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the 19th parliamentary term is the enshrinement of children’s rights in Germany’s Basic Law (Grundgesetz) in the form of fundamental rights for children. The planned amendment to the Basic Law is currently being discussed by a working group composed of federal and state representatives. It met for the first time on 6 June 2018. A proposal will be put forward at the latest by the end of 2019.

The German Child Protection Association (Deutscher Kinderschutzbund Bundesverband e.V., DKSB) is committed to protecting children from violence and child poverty and implementing children’s rights in Germany. The Association is an independent child and youth services provider. It consists of the federal association, 16 state-level associations and over 430 local chapters. Together, they represent children’s interests at the federal and state policy level. The structure of the Association enables it to act as a modern service provider on behalf of children and their families. Amongst other resources, DKSB runs the website for young people aged 12 and 18 explaining their rights to them.

In 2018, the federal state of Lower Saxony and the Lower Saxony chapter of the German child protection association (Deutscher Kinderschutzbund, DKSB) once again awarded various initiatives with the state’s KinderHabenRechtePreis, which recognises projects that recognises projects that support children’s and young people’s right to participate – whether in kindergarten, in youth services or in local policies. The motto in 2018 was “We have a say!” (Wir bestimmen mit!). The award is worth 9 000 euros.

The National Coalition Germany currently consists of around 110 nationwide organisations and initiatives from various areas of society who come together to raise awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) in Germany and promote its implementation. The National Coalition has regular, cooperative and supporting members, among them child and youth services providers, specialist organisations and individual bodies. The National Coalition publishes position papers and organises events. The website of the National Coalition contains information on the UN CRC and on current developments in regard to its implementation in Germany.

One of the targets in the ruling parties' coalition (2013-2017) agreement was to create a youth check (Jugend-Check) as an effective testing and awareness tool for proposed new laws and their effects on young people aged between 12 and 27. This tool was developed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) together with the youth organisations and with contributions by other civil society organisations as part of the Youth strategy – Action for a youth-oriented society (Jugendstrategie: Handeln für eine jugendgerechte Gesellschaft). BMFSFJ tried to get the youth check added to SGB VIII; the attempt in the 18th legislative period did not get the vote it needed for the law to be amended. The youth check remains a central element of the BMFSFJ's youth strategy.

See Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Young People > Existence of a national strategy on social inclusion > Youth strategy "Handeln für eine jugendgerechte Gesellschaft" (Action for a child- and youth-friendly society)

Key initiatives to safeguard democracy and prevent radicalisation leading to violent extremism

Federal programme "Demokratie leben!" (Live Democracy!)

See Participation > "Learning to Participate" through Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning > Non-formal and informal learning

The federal states also have democracy programmes:

  • Lower Saxony: 'Democracy and tolerance' (Demokratie und Toleranz)

    Type: funding directive

    Time frame: January 2014 - December 2018

    Core aims: Lower Saxony supports measures that counter discrimination and xenophobia in society and set a clear signal against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism and for democracy and tolerance. In particular, it supports projects that raise awareness of democratic values and tolerant behaviour and encourage and empower participants to stand up for human rights and diversity.

    Main outcomes: 20 projects received funding in 2014, followed by 15 each in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the State of Lower Saxony increased the budget substantially. As a result, 44 projects have already received funding as of mid-July 2017.

    Main target groups addressed: Applications are accepted from regional authorities and associated alliances that take the form of entities incorporated under German public law, other corporate bodies under public law and non-profit legal entities under private law. The funded measures targets children, young people and adults.
  • Berlin: Berlin youth democracy fund (Jugend-Demokratiefonds Berlin)

    Type: regional fund (Berlin).

    Time frame: since 2013.

    Core aims: to enable children and young people to experience and engage in democracy and to help strengthen democratic structures, participation, and projects against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism in Berlin. It favours projects that pursue an experimental and innovative approach or aim to strengthen young people’s civic commitment in a special way.

    Main outcomes: So far (as at October 2018), the programme has benefited around 70 000 children and adolescents. The total amount of funding so far stands at EUR 2.8 million. A total of around EUR 1.4 million has been earmarked for the youth democracy fund for 2018/19.

    Main target groups addressed: public-sector and independent organisations, associations and civil society initiatives in the fields of youth work, youth association work and youth social work that have local or state-wide relevance.

Support for civic education events and projects by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb)

The Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb) promotes civic education events and projects for adults (aged 16 and above) in Germany. All of its activities are designed to teach the general public about society and government, European and international politics, and politically and socially relevant developments in culture, business, technology and science. bpb’s events and projects aim to assist people in making up their own minds about social and political developments, asserting their rights and interests, respecting their responsibilities towards their fellow citizens, society at large and the environment, and helping to shape a liberal and democratic social order and governmental system. bpb engages in a dialogue with recognised education provider to develop its work programmes for each year. Information about offers directed at young people at the bpb website.

'No Hate Speech'

Type: national 'No Hate Speech' campaign in Germany supported by BMFSFJ and coordinated by Neue deutsche Medienmacher.

Time frame: since June 2016.

Core aims: part of the 'No Hate Speech Movement' campaign launched by the Council of Europe to counter hate speech and discrimination online. It aims to take a clear stance against hate speech, develop counter-strategies, and support victims.

Main outcomes: Establishment and visibility of the issue of hate speech among the general public, in politics and the media.

Main target groups addressed: to support young people and young media journalists in managing hate speech in online media and social networks.

Strategie Demokratieförderung und Extremismusprävention (Strategy to prevent extremism and promote democracy)

See Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Young People > Existence of a national strategy on social inclusion > Promoting democracy and preventing extremism

Respect Coaches (Anti-Mobbing-Profis)

An anti-bullying project by the name of Respect Coaches (Anti-Mobbing-Profis) was launched in 2018 to combat bullying on religious grounds in schools and promote tolerance and an understanding of democracy. Under the scheme, a total of 170 anti-bullying experts (“Profis”) across the country are to be given training. The budget for 2018 is EUR 20 million. The Youth Migration Services (Jugendmigrationsdienste) which receive funding from BMFSFJ are responsible for implementing the scheme at the local level.