City-to-city exchange: EPIC capacity-building process is successfully concluded

Jun 14, 2022

The EPIC project carried out a matchmaking activity during the last quarter of 2020 to pair each city involved in the project (normally composed of one local authority and one NGO) with expertise in a sector relevant to the priorities identified by another city seeking support to improve their capacities in the same area. The matchmaking activity was based on an 8-month research analysis that resulted in the publication of the EPIC “Unsettling integration research report” in 2020, and the subsequent identification of priorities for each partner according to that baseline analysis. 

Once the baseline analysis, identification of priorities and matchmaking activity were concluded in the 8 cities, it was time for the cities to embark on a mentor-mentee exchange that would allow them to acquire first-hand information on how their corresponding city delivered their integration services.

This capacity-building activity, where partners shared practical and technical information, tips and knowledge, mainly included job shadowing city-to-city field visits and exchanges. Given the COVID-19 restrictions, partners had to adjust to the online life s, recording documentaries that would allow them to show their counterpart the work they do to support migrants. Facilitated by the WP leader, all cities hosted joint sessions to screen the documentaries together and hold a post-video Q&A session to address questions and comments.

This knowledge transfer has been the basis for the 8 cities to design their respective pilot projects aiming at testing new public services able to tackle the challenges that were identified as their priorities during the baseline analysis.

This  Job shadowing section of the EPIC website gathers all videos that illustrate the different good practices of EPIC cities that were shared during the job shadowing, and that are generating the basis for transferring successful integration services to other territories through the 8 pilot projects EPIC is implementing during 2022.

Alcorcon: Multistakeholder interventions to support migrants’ integration in Madrid

The EPIC partner Solidaridad Sin Fronteras (SSF), a non-profit organisation that closely cooperates with the city of Alcorcon, is actively involved in offering job counselling services for migrants. The methodology involves individual attention guiding the clients through relevant workshops and trainings.  SSF is also actively contributing to open-minded society building. Through the project Entre iguales (Among Equals) they deliver interactive, non-curricular, educational sessions in local schools targeting migrant youth.

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Brescia: The Network of Migrants Desk and the Career Guidance for Refugees

In 2008 the Municipality of Brescia established the Network of Migrant Desks – a network of 6 civil society associations that work closely with migrant groups helping them to obtain legal status in the country while also providing supportive measures and services (such as training, job placement, etc.) and facilitating the dialogue between the migrant and key stakeholders – the Municipality, police and Prefecture. The EPIC partner Association ADL Zavidovici, works closely with the municipality of Brescia as well, and provides career guidance for refugees in the territory.

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Gdansk: Ensuring equal access to career opportunities for migrants in Pomerania

Pomerania is a region in Northern Poland that encompasses three cities: Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. It is one of the fastest growing regions in Poland and thus very attractive to new arrivals, such as migrants, business owners and people with business-like minds. The authorities have introduced several programmes to help migrants get settled in the region. The most renown and important out of them is the Come2Pomerania programme. It has an informative website, a database of available jobs as well as workforce, organises webinars and acts as a hub for people and migrants looking for new professional endeavours.

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Ioannina: Good practices in migrant and asylum seeker integration. By the Municipality of Ioannina and Symbiosis

The Municipality of Ioannina has established numerous services designed to develop social inclusion and smooth integration of migrant community into the city’s population. The variety of services range from legal support, translation, lodging, caring for unaccompanied minors, training and employability support; to psychological counselling and running a social grocery store and pharmacy. In the framework of the EPIC project, the Municipality of Ioannina works hand in hand with Symbiosis. The NGO based in Thessaloniki aims to promote democratic participation in social and political processes without discrimination and exclusion.

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Lisbon: A comprehensive support for accompanying newcomers

JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) plays a crucial role in the process of migrant population integration in Lisbon. JRS offers a large variety of services that extend from legal assistance to social, vocational, medical and psychological support to the migrant people. JRS has managed several collaboration projects such as CLIMB – Local Support Centre for Migrant Integration; Fica Bem Entre Linhas; language learning, vocational and employment fostering activities as well as cultural variety and social network building.

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Oberhausen: Rebuilding together and making Oberhausen a home for all

The German city Oberhausen stands out for its experience to successfully rent flats from private owners with the aim to dispose the properties further to the city’s migrant population. This kind of migrant private housing project is a big step forward from previous collective shelters that operated in public gyms and halls during the great migrant influx in 2015-2016. Also in Oberhausen, kitev offers highly engaging socio-cultural, artistic, and community-building activities. One of its latest projects – GENAU – is to renovate an old high-rise near the main train station, involving migrants’ help, and eventually create a well-functioning community hub that will host workshops, regular events and a café.

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Sardinia: Inclusive education and intercultural activities for a vibrant and welcoming Sardinia

The Italian island of Sardinia is home to more than 50,000 people of foreign origin, constituting 3.4% of the island’s 1.5 million people. Sardinia has a variety of projects and organisations providing educational and extracurricular activities for the migrant population. To mention a few, initiatives such as that of the universities of Sassari and Cagliari aim to make degree-level studying accessible for migrant students. Furthermore, the board game “Tutti i ballo” (Let’s All Dance) invented by the EPIC partner Cooperativa Sociale Studio Progetto 2 and used around elementary and primary school children,  focuses on welcoming refugees and relationship building, through dance.

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Sisak: Welcoming new neighbours and working for an intercultural society

Sisak, a small town in central Croatia, has developed some good practices for migrant housing. The Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing, in cooperation with local NGOs, has provided 20 fully refurbished and well-equipped flats to migrants, over the last 2 years that have been granted international protection in Croatia. The Centre for Cultural Dialogue (CCD) through the “New Neighbour” project, helps migrant lodgers relocate. On the day they move the flat is set up with cake, coffee and symbolic gifts, with the aim to make the inhabitant feel good and welcomed in his/her new home.

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