The Network for Intercultural Learning (Netzwerk Interkulturelles Lernen – NIL) is an association of various educational, cultural and counselling institutions from Oberhausen. It is a nice mix of both NGOs and municipal organisations, such as the theatre, the municipal integration centre, the municipal library or the church education centre. Together, the institutions support intercultural learning processes. Encounters and discussions between people of different origins are promoted and developed, thus facilitating community development. NIL works towards making intercultural learning a natural part of the educational system work. We aim to contribute to social cohesion and building value for diversity, promote dialogue between people of different origins and cultures and develop strategies to combat racism.
To achieve these goals, the members of the network regularly meet for meetings where next actions are planned and designed. These include opening places for people of different origins to meet, for example on the Day of Dialogue. On this day, lovingly laid coffee tables in several institutions invite people to sit together and chat. So far, many participants have taken up this offer and had the opportunity to talk to people they would otherwise not meet. Other actions include the publication of brochures and information material, for example on a democratic common Europe, diversity or “building blocks of intercultural sensitisation”. The design options of the network are versatile and always pursue low-threshold access. In 2007, for example, NIL organised an exhibition on the topic of migration in Oberhausen, where many personal stories gave immigration a face. The “Willkommen Nachbar” (Welcome Neighbour) event series was a celebration of good neighbourliness, bringing neighbours closer. Since 2009, the network has commemorated Human Rights Day in various ways. Last year, due to the pandemic, a short video was produced for the first time, in which different residents of Oberhausen presented their personally most significant human right. In the ongoing EPIC project, NIL will also be involved as a multiplier in the pilot project to design a new public service in Oberhausen and the communication campaign.