Best Practice 32

MiStra – Migrant Inclusion Strategies in European Cities

Direct target groups were public authorities, policy-makers, representatives of the civil society, Roma and migrant people in the 8 cities targeted (Berlin, Bologna, Taranto, Vienna, Prague, Dublin, Burgas, Budapest).

At local level the project implemented a participative multi-stakeholders approach involving also Roma and migrant people and/or communities, in order to facilitate their direct participation in definition of policy, social intervention and local activities on intercultural and migration issues.

Moreover, as estimated, other public and private partners besides those involved since the beginning, joined the networks established and contributed to the transfer of good practices and/or participated in meetings and workshops for the presentation of project results and outcomes.

Through the study visits the number of participants from other countries (Poland, Spain and Fin-land) were increased, with a view to sharing approaches and instruments belonging to difference cultures and historic-political traditions with regard to social inclusion, acceptance and exploitation of differences and migratory policies.

MiStra was a mainstreaming project which wanted to maximize the impact of effective existing practices at European level on migrants and minorities’ inclusion in cities in need, involving policy makers, VET stakeholders and civil society and migrant communities as key actors.

The Operational objectives were:

    • Exploit education and vocational training measures as means to facilitate social inclusion and job placement of migrant people, including marginalized cultural minorities and Roma people;
    • Facilitate and systematize the further exchanges between local welfare systems;
    • Mainstream the issues linked to integration, social inclusion and VET quality in cities’ political agendas;
    • Sharing and disseminating knowledge and competences on migrant and minorities’ social inclusion;
    • Preventing and contrasting racism and marginalization phenomena at different levels, namely in policy, on the job and in daily life.

From the beginning of its activities and during the overall lifecycle (with local workshops, study visits and other public events) the project involved political decision-makers, local authorities, public and private stakeholders of the projects identified as European good practices for the social inclusion of migrants, with the following operational goals:

    • To improve the ability of local development partnerships to identify and carry out training actions for migrants, in conjunction with other public policies and programmes
    • To disseminate information about successful experiences involving migrants, thereby offering the necessary feedback
    • To develop a better political framework to support the initiatives taken by local governments
    • To distribute public financial resources to support the aforementioned experiences
    • To raise awareness on migration and intercultural issues to prevent and contrast discrimination and racism. In this regard also training sessions were arranged.

MiStra based on some pillars to achieve its objectives:

    • a holistic approach, which considers job insertion, training, participation and right to citizen-ship of migrants as equally important, laying stress on several plans that may affect the life and well-being of people. Since we believe that the social inclusion of migrants, along with any prob-lems associated with migration, including racism, pose a few questions the host society should come to terms with, we have stressed the importance of the prevention of discrimination on all levels, being it the foundation of each civil society;
    •  the need to involve migrants in participation processes and active citizenship, in order to engage them in the debate as well, thereby encouraging their contribution as active and self-determined people to the economic, cultural and political development of the societies they belong to, and contributing to their wealth and pluralism;
    • services addressed to migrants are not always effective to solve the problems affecting host societies. They can lead to perceived discrimination on the part of the needy who are excluded for not being migrants themselves. Besides, it could be inferred that migration is a synonym for exclusion and poverty. For this reason, the actions scheduled by the project do not focus only on the social inclusion of migrants, but they aim to encourage a wider participation of the public suiting their different needs;
    • to be migrant does not mean to be disadvantaged, but it can happen if the host society is not really “hosting”;
    • awareness and cultural activities are important to remove racism, stereotypes and prejudices on migrants and migration issues, involving every level of society.

 

MiStra was structured with an overall coordination provided by CIOFS-FP. In each target city there was a partner referent for the local activity. The country referent organization was therefore re-sponsible for the implementation of local workshop and transfer process, building of local net-works, and the dissemination activities in its country and its networks.

Local networks contribute 1) in transferring contexts with the aim of providing multi-stakeholders co-operation, knowledge, experience and support, 2) in receiving contexts, to induce policy framework improvements, prevent many kinds of discrimination at different levels and defining a fitted allocation of public fund responding to emerging needs. Local networks were composed by policy makers, public authorities, NGOs, Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions, Roma and mi-grants’ representations and associations.

Having been a mainstreaming project, special attention was paid to the involvement of public and private stakeholders in Europe (public authorities, communities of migrants, training centres, In-ternational bodies, European agencies, research centres, etc.) and in each country involved, in or-der to guarantee the best transfer of good practices, dissemination and enhancement.

For more information about the project and any related documents, please visit http://mistra.ciofs-fp.org/the-mistra-project/.

The dissemination of an integration model involving vocational training, adult training and social services at a local level, addresses to Roma and migrants, starting from the practices adopted in Eu-ropean cities, supports the overall systems improving them.

The direct goal was to guarantee methodological support to local partnerships, helping them adopt a successful model, whereas the indirect goal consists in involving and supporting the Euro-pean networks.

The main impacts of the project can certainly refer to:

–  the establishment of local partnerships and networks composed by local authorities, Roma and migrants’ communities and organizations, NGOs etc, to provide and develop new projects and co-operations at local and European level.

– the enhanced participation of Roma migrants in the development of local migratory policies through the local networks set up for the integration of training actions with the welfare system in general, along with the ability to work out local plans aimed at integrating different measures.

The activities planned helped the creation of a strong network in each target city (Budapest, Burgas, Prague and Taranto) where the transfer of good practices from other European cities took place, in order to: a) become familiar with local experiences that have proven to be successful as regards the fulfilment of Roma and mi-grants’ needs; b) acquire skills for lifelong learning policies, based on the efficiency and the equity of a combined vision integrating specific policies developed for other areas; c) prevent and contrast many kinds of racism in different levels (e.g. institutional and in daily life).

Still today (after 6 years from the project start and 4 years after its end) some of the results are being in use in the cities that had transferred the selected models and practices. As an example, in Taranto, one of the target cities, the “Casa MiStra”, built starting from the transfer process between the cities of Vienna (IntegrationHaus) and Taranto is still operating and growing social exchanges: https://www.facebook.com/CasaMistra/ .

In terms of tangible products, still many MiStra results can be used and are available, i.e.:

    • The toolkit for policy makers,
    • The researches and the results of the transfers – still used as models for the mentoring processes among cities (or other local authorities);
    • The videos of the exchanges provide a good and lively insight of what happened and of how to plan and implement a successful transfer process among local authorities and the relevant civil societies.

Please find all these products at the following address: http://mistra.ciofs-fp.org/the-mistra-project/products/

□ Health & Welfare Benefits

□  Language Access

□  Housing and social services

□  Access to the labour market

□ Education

□ Others: social inclusion (wider) of migrants at city level, exchange and transfer of best practices

 

 

□ Language Training

□ Intercultural communication

 

□ Study Visits

□ Mentoring Services

□ Others: The exchange of practices and mentoring system among cities has been a strong strategy still having some impacts in the local realities involved. We have been starting from the concept that cities can share problems and get inspiration, tools and knowledge from othe contexts. This was done through very powerful tools, ie Local Empowerment Workshops, Study visits and mentoring visits.

 

The partnership was composed by 9 organizations from 6 European countries.

The need to involve different geographical areas in Europe was considered when choosing the partners, and for this reason the project partners included organisations from North-Central Eu-rope (Ireland, Austria and Germany) for their long-term experience on migration issues, Eastern Eu-rope (Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria) as new destination of migration flows and for the strong presence of Roma people in this area, and Southern Europe (Italy) as important European gate of migration routes.

In terms of areas of expertise analyzed and exchanges, the project activities focused on measures and practices successfully involving migrants, minorities and other fragile groups in social life in general, with a specific focus on employment, social services, awareness raising and cultural ex-change. The measures could be managed at National, Regional or local level but the project focused on urban approach and city-level interventions.

Name: Elena Grilli

Organisation: MetropolisNet EEIG

Telephone:

Email: elena.grilli@metropolisnet.eu

 

From the applicant organization, Ciofs-FP:

Ciofs-FP: Federica Ruggiero, fruggiero@ciofs-fp.org