INTEGRATION OF THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS - INTI

 

Partners:

  1. Denmark: The Danish Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination (DACoRD) http://www.drcenter.dk
  2. Spain: MPDL - Movimiento por la Paz, el Desarme y la Libertad[1] (Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Liberty).  http://www.mpdl.org
  3. Austria: ZARA - Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassimus-Arbeit[2] (www.zara.or.at)
  4. Austria: Vernetzungsbüro der Wiener Integrationskonferenz (WIK), an umbrella organisation comprising organisations of the various ethnic communities (http://www.wik-vernetzungsbuero.at/).
  5. Greece: ANTIGONE – Information & Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence[3] www.antigone.gr
  6. Greece: Institute of Social Innovation www.socialinnovation.gr   Project managers
  7. Greece: The Greek Council for Refugees (www.gcr.gr)
  8. Cyprus: Reconciliation (Symfiliosi)[4] [a newly set up NGO- no website yet]
  9. Cyprus: Intercollege[5]: Leading partners. www.intercollege.ac.cy

 

Concept: The activities fall under 2 main inter-related categories- the Net Cafes and the Policy Recommendations

 

 

 

The ‘Migrant Resource Centers’

 

  1. The setting up and running of computer centres in each one of the participating countries[6], in areas easily accessible by immigrants and, where applicable, within the areas inhabited by migrant communities. The centres could (but do not necessarily have to) be enriched with personnel, material and equipment that will attract immigrants: e.g. Library with books and magazines (from their countries of origin as well as from other countries, but language problem must be addressed); beverages from their countries; telephone centre offering cost-price rates, etc. The centre should, where possible, be staffed by (inter alia) the immigrants themselves. The hours of operation will be tailored according to the needs of each country. E.g. in Cyprus the unemployment rate amongst migrant workers is very small, therefore the centre should open after working hours (4pm) and stay open until midnight and during weekends too. The hours of operation in the other countries can be decided by the partners according to these or any other criteria they consider relevant.

 

Denmark, whose immigrant community has the highest rate of civic participation, could (instead of setting up its own computer centre) play the role of reviewing and commenting on the manner of operation of these centres in the other countries (through reports prepared by the other partners and/or through visits of the Danish partners in the other countries), prepare recommendations, transfer good practice and organise study visits to Denmark for the other partners to benefit from the experience of similar initiatives there.

 

  1. The hardware equipment could be purchased second hand from companies or government departments who regularly replace their computers with latest technology ones. To this end, all partners could try to secure the participation to this project of a partner in their country (e.g. corporate, governmental organisations, educational establishments, computer schools etc) who will make these second hand computers available at a pre-agreed price in the event the project is awarded. Alternatively, partners could endeavour to make a couple of phone calls to large corporations (e.g. Universities, colleges, banks, airlines, governmental departments) and find out if they intend to buy new computers in 2006 and if so, at what price they could make their old computers available to you. If this is not possible, then we can simply include the purchase price of second technology computers in the budget, based on your knowledge of the market in your country.

 

For Cyprus, we intend to buy about 30 computers. We have calculated this number based on our knowledge that the educational courses (language, computer literacy, anti-discrimination) cannot function with more than 25 people. You may find that in your country it is better to adjust this number upwards or downwards.

 

The cost of connection to the server and use of internet lines should also be included.

 

 

  1. A basic computer literacy course should be offered for several hours (for Cyprus, we decided that 20 hours per week is sufficient- but each country can decide for itself) per week, focusing mainly on developing skills for internet and e-mail. It would be excellent if computer classes for children of migrants could also be offered, which can also be open to non-migrants, as an integration measure. After a period of, say, 3 months when the users will have acquired some basic computer skills through regular practice, the following training could be offered with the use of computers:

 

-       Learning the national language of the host country[7];

-       Information and training on how to access basic public and private services, including health, education, housing, legal advise;

-       Encouraging and facilitating civic participation of immigrants in the host country through the establishment of immigrant organisations and through human rights training;

-       Anti-discrimination and anti-racism training based on the national anti-discrimination legislation  with emphasis on how to complain (e.g. to the National Equality Body, the Ombudsman etc);

-       The development of networks between the immigrant communities in other EU countries and with NGOs active in the field of immigrant support (through the transnational partners) Also, through the use of computers (and particularly e-mail and internet) can be encouraged and facilitated. Finally, the

-       The use of and regular contributions to a user-friendly website common to all countries participating[8] focusing on integration issues, including direct communication and exchange between the immigrants groups in the participating countries, with special sections on campaigning and awareness raising issues and civic participation good practices.

 

With regard to the language and computer proficiency, it would be useful if a transnational certification standard would be set, and for certificates of proficiency to be

 

  1. Monthly meetings should be held at the centres, open to the migrant communities at large and participated by representatives of NGOs active in the field of immigrant support, social partners, local authorities and (where relevant) representatives of governmental departments, to discuss the running of the centre, identify the problems and evaluate the service offered to these communities. The partners should compile a brief report (say 600 words) on the issues raised and the outcome of each of those meetings and e-mail it to the other partners, for the purpose of exchange and inter-consultation. Before the completion of the project, a committee should be set up at each centre, comprising of immigrants, representatives of NGOs and of the party offering the premises, in order to run the centre after completion.

 

In addition, 2 focus groups should be held, one at the end of the first six months of operation and the second one at the end of 12 months of operation, participated by immigrants and NGOs, to discuss integration and civic participation issues. The analysed results of these meetings will be used for the purposes of the comparative study described below.

 

  1. The project duration is maximum 18 months and therefore the sustainability of these centres must be addressed, to enable them to survive after the project finishes. The most crucial issues are the cost of the rent and the salary of a person in charge. In order to secure the rent, one or more of following solutions could be explored:

-       Secure the commitment of a local authority, trade union, educational institution or other, who could become partners to this project, to offer premises on rent for 18 months (which is the project duration) and then for another period of, say, 1 or 2 years (or so) without rent or with low rent.

-       Alternatively, after completion of the project, the centre could be moved to the premises of an NGO, trade union, college / university or other which could be offered free of charge or at a reasonable rate.

-       Efforts must be made to select low-rent premises. Also, the running of these centres during the lifetime of the project must be geared at achieving a low-cost and high-effectiveness administration system.

In order to cover the cost of hiring an employee to be in charge of the centre after completion of the project, efforts could be made by the management committee to secure funds, or arrange for volunteers (immigrants and locals) to serve on rotation, or charge the users of the centre with a reasonable fee in order to meet its expenses. If the latter solution is envisaged, perhaps the co-operation of private enterprises could be sought.

 

The Policy Recommendations

 

Building on existing research on immigration models and integration strategies, as well as on the knowledge derived from the two six-monthly focus groups, a comparative study could be undertaken, co-ordinated by a team comprising of experienced researchers (list to be compiled, and efforts are currently being made to secure the participation of policy orientated researchers), in order to produce:

1. A comparative study of existing immigration models within EU, with emphasis on the socio-economic results of each model, identifying advantages and constraints.

2. Best practices of integration policies across Europe.

3. Policy recommendations at national and EU level.

 

At the same time, a panel of consultants could be set up, consisting of representatives of, say, NGOs, the Equality Body in your country, the Ombudsman, the Ministries of Education, Interior and Justice, academia and local authorities, to meet twice in the duration of the project, in order to give their comments on the drafting of the policy recommendations.

 

A system of dissemination of the results to various sectors (including local authorities, social partners, private enterprises, NGOs, migrants associations etc) must also be developed, e.g. through media exposure, seminars, round table discussions, e-publications, use of the website etc.



[1] MPDL was founded in 1981 as a pacifist social movement campaigning for denuclearisation in Europe, and promotion of Human Rights. Since then MPDL has expanded its work from the concept that peace is more than the absence of war, but also means the peaceful resolution of global and local conflicts, through humanitarian aid and development cooperation. Main activities:
Internationally, MPDL is active in over 30 countries, in Central and Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, the Maghreb, Asia and the Balkans. MPDL has several activities: humanitarian intervention, assistance to victims of natural catastrophes, development cooperation, rehabilitation and capacity building. In Spain, the Social Action department of MPDL works towards combating inequalities, racism and xenophobia by promoting tolerance and peace. The inclusion of immigrants is central to an open and tolerant society. To this end MPDL has several projects giving legal assistance to immigrants, schools campaign, providing housing for young migrants, education for deprived populations.

[2] JRS (Malta) forms part of an international NGO (JRS), working with refugees and displaced people in over 50 countries. They are among the very few local organizations that have been assisting and advocating for these immigrants since the very beginning of their influx into Malta.

[3] ANTIGONE is a non governmental organisation based in Thessalonica with offices in Athens. Since 1995 it is active in issues concerning human rights, ecology, peace and non-violent conflict resolution in close cooperation with the “Ecological Movement” of Thessalonica.

[4] Already running a UNHCR program of providing legal advice to refugees and asylum seekers.

[5] A tertiary education institute. They are already running an ‘EQUAL’ program on integration of refugees into the labor market.

[6] Unless a facility of this nature or effect already exists in some countries, in which case the participating partner’s contribution could be the transfer of know- how and good practice.

[7] For most languages, there should be software developed especially for language training. In Cyprus there is a CD developed under a Leonardo program for learning Greek as a foreign language. Perhaps the other partners could investigate if something similar exists for their national languages.

[8] Again the language problem must be addressed.