Friendly cities and migrants’ inclusion

Sep 23, 2020

EPIC’s highlights from the ALDA Talks

On the 22nd of September some of our EPIC partners, Solidaridad Sin Fronteras, ALDA and kitev, joining for the 1st session of a new edition of the ALDA Talks to share with the audience what the EPIC project is about and what integration initiatives the different partners are carrying out in their territories.

Dolinda Cavallo, project manager at ALDA and project coordinator of EPIC, started introducing the project, highlighting our keywords: cooperation among local authorities (LA) and NGOs.

Starting with a series of research activities (surveys, interviews, focus groups and desk research) about migrants’ integration in the 8 cities covered by EPIC, the project will identify thematic priority areas where the partners will exchange knowledge and experiences via job shadowing activities to, later on, be able to test new local services for migrants’ integration.

Irene Soria, project manager at Solidaridad Sin Fronteras (SSF) in Madrid presented the cooperation model that her NGO has with the municipality of Alcorcon, a city in the south of Madrid where 11% of the citizens are from migrant background. Among a large number of current projects (first reception and legal counselling, social and health support, etc.), SSF and the municipality of Alcorcon have teamed-up to set up a cooperation protocol in the field of access to employment for migrants.

A total of 1,300 users have already benefit of this initiative that provide both individual and group support through individual intervention, workshops, internships, capacity building, job placement, or psychological support. They do a closing monitoring of each beneficiary and every 2 months, SSF sends a report to the social workers. The coordination system between the municipality and SSF (employment workgroup with regular meetings, calls, online interaction, monitoring reports, etc.) has been key to ensure the success of this joint collaboration. Now other municipalities in Madrid are asking to replicate this model in their territory.

Gianna Gardeweg from the organisation kitev in Oberhausen shared then the socio cultural initiatives they are implementing to revitalise the area and change the narrative on migration through cultural exchanges.

Based in the old water tower at the central train station in Oberhausen, kitev works with other artists Europe-wide to transform the area into a vibrant quarter using art and culture. Following a renovation, largely stemmed by the association itself, the tower hosts events, workshops and workspace for creative people from all over Europe. In kitev’s work, participation is a crucial principle and culture is a fundamental dimension of sustainable development.

Recently, kitev has been testing collaborative working methods. One of those is the Free University they started two and a half years ago. Following consultations with the Oberhausen neighbours, kitev launched this initiative that currently includes 20 courses focused on participation, addressing the bottom-up needs and feedback received from the local citizens.

Their main objective is to empower people, create new stories to be shared with all the live together in the city and to change wrong perceptions and stereotypes about migration. Their motto ‘Who builds, changes. And who knows that he can change something becomes a player in an active community’.

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