What is the EPIC project?
The European Platform of Integrating Cities (EPIC) is a 3-year project funded by the European Union – Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) which aims to improve the integration of migrants at local level by creating an European network of Local Authorities (LAs) and their implementing partners (NGOs) that will A) share knowledge and best practices of TCN’s integration, B) engage in peer-to-peer exchanges based on common priorities and different expertise, C) implement efficient integration practices within local territories and D) develop capacities to counter the negative narratives on migration.
Based on the transfer of knowledge and competences among Local Authorities and NGOs with different degrees of experience, EPIC supports a direct and gradual practical learning to improve integration practices in each city targeted by the project.
- Form a network including LAs, NGOs, and European-wide Associations and their Members
- Understand the priorities of LAs on migrant integration
- Promote a LA-driven peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and practices through meetings and job shadowing that pairs LAs with different experiences
- Equip LAs with expertise to implement pilot projects in their territories
- Promote networking beyond EPIC with partners that can support migration integration
- Promote local-to-local cooperation among LAs
- Address issues of media and negative narratives on migration, and develop the capacities of LAs to counter them with evidence-based and impactful discourses
- Improve the integration of migrants at local level
- Create a European dimension of migrant integration
LAs and NGOs of the EPIC project will reach a more efficient management of TCNs’ integration thanks to a permanent and sustainable EU-wide network for the exchange of best practices on migrants’ integration beyond the EPIC project. The project will ensure the improvement of services for migrants on the ground of each targeted LAs, and finally the bottom up approach of the project will involve local citizenship to reflect about what was learned and will bring to a mind-set change towards a more inclusive society.
The EPIC project lays the groundwork in the initial research which aims to collect data – survey & interviews – to gather opinions, perceptions and individual experiences and thus to obtain the overall understanding of the integration practices in the territories involved in the project. A deeper discussion of existing practices of migrant integration in each case city is provided through Focus Groups with Local Authorities and the NGOs with the objective to share challenges faced, lessons learned and what the needs are for their territory.
Identification of priorities
Based on the results of the research, we will identify which are the priorities, meaning the thematic areas that EPIC partners wish to improve for a successful migrants’ integration in the localities targeted. This step will set the overall direction of the project.
According to the priories identified, we will create pairs among partners formed by one LAs and NGOs with expertise in a specific sector on migrants’ integration and one LAs and NGOs that needs support to acquire skills in that specific area.
Once the match will be created, partners will take part in Job-shadowing activities that will assure the exchange of expertise; as a matter of fact, one delegation of Local Authorities and representatives of the NGOs will attend Job shadowing activities to gain key insights on migration integration on specific matters and will host other partners to showcase their best practices.
The idea behind the transfer of knowledge is that practices observed in partners’ countries during the job shadowing will be replicated in the local communities back home by implementing 8 Pilot projects. Each Local Authority with the support of an NGO will set up a Pilot Project in its territory to face concretely at local level a specific issue identified in line with the priorities detected in the initial research. Testing is an essential part of any project and this is also a key part of EPIC, which wants to ensure that targeted LAs through the skills newly-acquired achieve real change in the integration of the migrant population.
Several events will be organised aiming at fostering dialogue with key stakeholders on migrants’ integration at local and EU level and favouring the emerging of joint policies and initiatives. The Local Networking Paths will have a bottom-up approach to reflect within the communities on how to improve migrants’ life and their integration within the hosting community and to discuss with citizens on solutions to existing local integration. Moreover, three International Networking Paths in Sisak, Lisbon, and Brussels will be organised, to discuss policy harmonisation, project integration and local-to-local cooperation at international level.
One International Training on Media will train partners of the EPIC project to tackle the issue of the management of information of migration and to combat counter narrative -mix frontal lectures, role-plays, workshops – with important experts from different background. The training will prepare partners to develop counter-narratives campaigns aimed to fight stereotypes and generalisation against migration and to highlights the benefits of local integration accompanied by webinars, open to the public, and short video capsules on the EPIC project activities.