Anne Frank Trust tackles prejudice in young people

The Anne Frank Trust’s work tackling prejudice-related behaviour has been found to be effective

Education charity The Anne Frank Trust ranks as one of the few organisations in the UK that can show its work tackling prejudice-related behaviour among young people is effective. 

The Anne Frank Trust’s was singled out in a report released recently by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as one of the only interventions to have “research to support the effectiveness of [these kind of] programmes”. Its work in schools is being re-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of the Hate Crime Action plan.

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: “The Anne Frank Trust does invaluable work in tackling prejudice in schools and educating our young people with this inspiring story. By working together, we can help change attitudes and use this living legacy to prevent all forms of hate crime in the long term.”

Research commissioned by the EHRC examined projects nationwide. Only nine interventions were able to demonstrate that their programmes were robustly evaluated and give meaningful results. The Anne Frank Trust, which works with 40,000 young people each year, was among the highest ranking of these proven interventions.

The Trust’s evaluation measures include pre and post intervention surveys of teachers and pupils who have been trained by the charity to act as peer educators and guides.

The Anne Frank Trust’s work in schools aims to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination. The programme uses a ‘general approach’, working with all pupils rather than a pre-identified few. The EHRC reports that “there is emerging evidence that general approaches to reduce prejudice and related behaviours (for example, school interventions which promote awareness, empathy and social skills) may be effective in improving the situation across protected characteristics [such as age, disability, race, religion]”.

Using the inspiration of teenage diarist Anne Frank, who ultimately died at the hands of the Nazis, school students are trained as peer educators and deliver exhibition tours and presentations to other students. A number later become Anne Frank Ambassadors, and remain as a living legacy of the programme in their schools and communities. There are now nearly 1,000 Anne Frank Ambassadors across Britain, and the idea has been taken on by organisations working in Anne’s name across the globe.

It means a lot to be an Anne Frank Ambassador. You get to tell people what happened to Anne Frank during the Holocaust, and explain how something similar could happen again if we allow hatred to go unchallenged – Nathan, Anne Frank Ambassador

Anne Frank Ambassador, Nathan is proud of his role as an Anne Frank Ambassador. “It means a lot to be an Anne Frank Ambassador. You get to tell people what happened to Anne Frank during the Holocaust, and explain how something similar could happen again if we allow hatred to go unchallenged. There are people in my own community who support racist groups and if they knew the facts, rather than just the propaganda, they would change their minds. Doing the Anne Frank Schools Project has given me and my friends have a completely different view than these kinds of groups. I’m now able to challenge prejudice when confronted with it,” he said.

Robert Posner, the Trust’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Taking a general approach to combatting prejudice-related behaviour or ‘identity based violence’, where we work with every pupil in a year group or sometimes a whole school, is working. We can see through the results, shown by our robust evaluation system that using peer educators as influencers, and the universally inspiring words and life of Anne Frank, makes people think and behave differently.”

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