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How can we effect change in our community?

Peer Mentoring

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The SEL activities helped the learners identify the range of emotions that may be present in different communities (both online and offline), including communities they belong to. They had opportunity to explain why those emotions might be present, and how those emotions may influence the actions/responses of the group when encountering hate speech.

The Media analysis unit gave learners the opportunity to analyse media sources that have drawn attention to protected characteristics (both positively and negatively). They explored the characteristics of these campaigns that made them effective in gaining attention/sparking discussion/effecting change, and considered how they can develop these characteristics in their own campaigns or actions around online hate speech.

The Media production unit focused on how to engage with and build a supportive community that could further the reach and objectives of a campaign (both online and offline).

The Citizenship unit gave young people tips for conducting a canvassing exercise among their communities, to get a broader perspective on the key issues around hate speech that they consider to be the most relevant.

The Peer-mentoring unit will get young people thinking about the best ways to set up a safe space online where they can test out their campaign ideas before launching them publicly.

Main Activity

The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:

“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”

Activity 1: Whose voice gets heard? - Warm up

Note: This activity can be adapted to suit a wide range of group sizes. You will need a minimum of six learners - but more is preferable.

What you will need:


  • Remind learners that the SELMA toolkit is a set of modules designed to address hate speech through a social and emotional learning approach. Learners will be participating in this activity designed to get them thinking about how they can support each other to test out their campaigns before they launch them more widely.
  • It’s important that learners feel safe, comfortable and warmed up before participating in an activity. Check out our handy “How to” guide for general recommendations on how to introduce the peer-mentoring activities.


  1. Arrange four chairs in the centre of the room, backs facing each other so that learners who sit on the chairs cannot see each other. The rest of the chairs should be placed in a circle around the four chairs, facing the learners (this will be the audience).
  2. Explain that, in this activity, four learners will be sat in the middle of the room, having an “online” conversation. The rest of the learners will be the audience - they must listen to the conversation carefully as they’ll all be discussing it afterwards.
  3. Ask four learners to volunteer to be the ones to sit in the centre of the room on the four chairs.
  4. Stand in the corner of the room and ask each of the four learners who will be seated in the centre of the room to come to you. Give them one of each of the roles from the “Whose voice gets heard?” booklet. Give them a minute to read the instructions and make sure they understand what they have to do (keep quiet, it’s important others don’t hear).
  5. Tell them that when you say “Begin” they must all begin the conversation, following the instructions on their slip of paper.
  6. Once you’re confident they’ve understood what they need to do, ask them to sit in the centre of the room. Say “Begin” and let the cacophony unfold!

When the conversation is over, begin a discussion with the audience:

  • What did you understand?
  • Whose voice was the loudest?
  • Do you think the loudest person had the most interesting or important thing to say?
  • What about the person shouting out “chocolate”? What impact did this have? What do you think the impact would have been if the person was shouting out something hateful instead of the word “chocolate”?
  • Could you hear the person whispering?
  • In this activity, the person whispering was actually reading out real quotes by individuals who had been targets of hate speech. Do you think that people who experience hate speech can feel like their voice is drowned out online? Why/ Why not?
  • What factors do you think give people a louder voice than others online? (Here you’re looking for answers like number of followers, offline power, tactics used such as repetition, etc.)

Ask the four people engaged in the conversation:

  • How did you feel participating in the activity?
  • Were you listening to others?
  • What, if any, impact did having an audience make?

Key takeaways:

  1. Even if many people now have access to social media, that doesn’t translate into equal voice. Factors like political power, number of followers, and tactics used, make a big difference.
  2. When it comes to thinking about techniques to get your message across effectively, don’t forget about the importance of listening! Talking at somebody rarely works.
  3. Audience effects matter. Think carefully about whether your message is better sent privately or publicly. If you choose to engage in a conversation publicly, you need to be aware of your audience, not just the person you are directly talking to. Your message may be understood very differently than you intend it to.

Activity 2: Find your online voice

What will you need:

  1. One “Find your online voice” resource per participant.
  2. One “Find your online voice - Follow-up” resource for you (the trainer).
  3. A pair of scissors to share.
  4. A safety pin/similar to attach a piece of paper to participants’ clothing.


  1. Provide each learner with the “Find your online voice” resource and explain that they will have 10 minutes to complete a quiz, replying to seven questions. The instructions are on the quiz itself.
  2. Please note that there is intentionally no option for 'not doing anything'. We're encouraging every learner to consider what they can actually do - doing nothing isn't an option.
  3. At the end of the 10 minutes, they should review their responses and work out which their online voice is (page 8).
  4. Once they’ve identified which their online voice is, ask them to cut out and stick on their badge (page 9 onwards).
  5. Ask one person representing each of the five voices to come to the front of the class and present themselves.
  6. Then, read out the scenario from the “Find your online voice - Follow-up” resource, and ask each of the five learners to explain how they would respond to the scenario, based on their voice.
  7. Open up a discussion with the wider group, thinking about the pros and cons of each approach to dealing with the scenario.

Key takeaways:

  1. We all have different ways we feel comfortable communicating online and this is also true when it comes to finding ways to make our voice heard to tackle online hate speech. The approaches depend on our personality and our risk appetite, and approaches often change depending on our context and situation too (e.g. you may have had an overall “voice”, but you likely didn’t get the same number for each question - and that’s because you adapted your response according to the situation, which is great).
  2. Quieter approaches shouldn’t be mistaken for being passive/weak. Engaging directly with people expressing hate online is not the only - and often not the best - way to make your voice heard. Think about the full range of options at your disposal, and get help from an adult to identify the best approach for the particular situation you are facing.

Outcome Criteria

  • Appreciate the different factors that give some people a “louder” voice on social media platforms than others.
  • Reflect on the importance of considering the particular situation and what you are comfortable with personally when deciding how to respond to online hate.


Appreciate the different factors that give some people a “louder” voice on social media than others. Reflect on the importance of considering the situation and what you are comfortable with personally when deciding how to respond to online hate.


Whose voice gets heard?

Appreciating the different factors that give some people a “louder” voice on social media platforms than others.


Find your online voice

What type of person are you online? - A quiz to help young people decide.


Find your online voice - Follow-up

Reflecting on the importance of considering the particular situation and what you are comfortable with personally when deciding how to respond to online hate.