Why are we running this project?
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed a longer-term trend: Social polarization in Germany is growing and hateful and violent content increasingly spreading on the Internet. Adult target groups are often difficult to reach through political education. Consequently, there is great need for suitable formats to be incorporated in professional and private settings. This is where the trans-sectoral approach between civil society and a group of companies, associations, and unions offers a great opportunity to experience community and political culture also at the workplace.
What are our goals?
The Business Council for Democracy – BC4D for short – connects civil society to companies, unions, and associations that want to make tangible contributions to maintaining social cohesion in the digital age. Based on a specially developed curriculum, they offer their employees the option to acquire democratic skills with a focus on digital literacy. People will learn action strategies to challenge conspiracy theories, understand the role of the Internet in polarization, and acquire tools to deal with hateful online content.
How does the project work?
- Renowned experts have developed a digital curriculum spanning disinformation, conspiracy myths, and online hate speech. The curriculum includes examples of best practice from Germany.
- In spring 2021 the curriculum was implemented and tested in the form of an online course across six pilot companies. These included the ALBA Group, Evonik Industries, the KION Group, NOMOS Glashütte, UFA, and the VW Group. At each workplace, up to 20 employees took part in the interactive online courses each week, where they are taught by specially trained instructors.
- On completion of the first round, an evaluation was carried out to analyze the success of the knowledge sharing and the effect on online behavior. Due to the positive evaluation results, BC4D has been continuing in three rounds per year in several companies in Germany. Until autumn 2023 up to 100 (online) courses are planned.