Arts and cultural activities, Social inclusion

Community Matters

Building civic connections between women’s associations in Greek and refugee communities to engage women on matters of common concern, and to promote the idea that community does matter.


Who is behind this?

Tracy Lucas

Danish Refugee Council



Idea pitch

Build bridges and partnerships between women's associations in refugee camps and those in local Greek host communities by engaging both in dialogue and supporting activities to address key common concerns and interests. In addition to empowering refugee women to have more voice in community matters, the project will link two local but distant communities and promote common understanding. Positive outcomes will reaffirm that community does matter to ensure a healthy, safe and democratic society

Where will your project idea take place?

North Greece (Veria, Alexandria and Lagadikia)

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

i. Isolation and lack of civic engagement by women in refugees sites;
ii. Lack of connection and sense of community between refugees and local host community members;
iii. Missed opportunities from local Greek communities to:
1. lobby local and national authorities for improved infrastructure and services as a result of the increased local population to improve quality of life;
2. exchange and learn from each other and collaborate on initiatives to improve shared community spaces and services directly through volunteerism and locally led activities.
iv. Lack of support for Greek women’s associations to understand political mechanisms and funding opportunities available for local improvements along with tools to engage with local and national authorities on community matters.

Who are you doing it for?

1. Female refugees residing in refugee camps (Veria, Alexandria and Lagadikia) in North Greece, aged 18+ who are interested in connecting with local Greek women, and/or who may also wish to stay in Greece long-term. Approximately 24% of the population of camps (around 400- 500 individuals) are female adults, of whom the majority come from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Women’s associations that are active in the communities located close to refugee hosting sites. These associations are mainly composed of Greek women who on the one hand provide a support network to other women in their community, but also work on a variety of initiatives to promote more equal and inclusive societies for women, and safer communities for everyone.

How do you plan to get there?

DRC’s Community Mobilisation and Integration (CM&I) specialist undertakes the following activities:
1. Liaison and Networking with:
a. Women’s associations in communities close to refugee camps and select up to 3 communities that are:
• Open and interested in engaging with refugee women regularly
• Interested in exchanging experiences or best practice with other associations and/or local government
b. Initiatives in larger conurbations who can share best practice relevant to civic engagement
3. Development of Refugee women’s associations: Engage interest of women in camps to establish women’s associations, and support their establishment with formal or informal frameworks
4. Cultural & Recreational Exchange activities: Help women’s associations identify activities to allow women to share cultures/interests, build connections and support their roll out with in-kind support
5. Dialoguing & Information Sessions: Hold meetings up to once per month for 8 months for women’s associations to receive information (e.g. presentations & success stories) to initiate dialogue & exchange ideas on local community challenges and solutions. These will be supported by interpretation services and if necessary the provision of a meeting space
6. Support Civic Action: Help women identify common civic action projects and support the implementation through mobilization of resources.

What are the expected results?

1. Partnerships will be formed and connections (including friendships) made between refugee and Greek host communities, strengthening the support network for refugee women in particular and reducing isolation
2. The concept of and framework for women’s associations in refugee camps will be established
3. Both Greek and refugee women will have more information and knowledge about their rights, tools, platforms, and funding available to support community improvements and other initiatives
4. Greek and refugee women will have links to other networks and initiatives to strengthen their voices and promote continued exchange and learning of experiences and best practice
5. Collaborative ventures between refugee and host communities are initiated to address community matters.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

In sequential order, the project will:
1. Enhance social cohesion between two different communities by supporting them to share culture and interests, find common ground and build support networks.
2. Engage both communities in dialogue to identify common challenges and concerns;
3. Empower participants with information about their rights, tools, funding and other support available to help them address these issues.
4. Help them mobilise resources, including links to national and international networks, media, funding, etc. to support them to address community matters identified through the project.

Why is this idea important to you?

DRC has been working in refugee camps in Greece since 2016 maintaining facilities and running education and protection services for refugees; including activities to promote women’s wellbeing. Our team are familiar with the challenges faced by refugee communities (especially women) and observe the impact that isolation from Greek communities has on opportunities and willingness to integrate. We also witness suspicion from the local Greek host communities, and missed opportunities to unite and collaborate on issues of common concern. The CM&I specialist role was recently formulated to help improve community engagement in camps and social cohesion with the nearby communities. With 5 year’s experience working with refugee in Greece, the specialist will play a lead role in the project.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel 17250 EUR, Interpretation 8100 EUR, Transport & Comms, 4300 EUR, Activities 5050 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

How to bridge the gaps between host and refugee communities in southern Europe when the social fabric has been significantly weakened by the impact of the COVID pandemic during the last year? How to address the erosion of the civil society’s role after the political drift of the last years?


Idea created on April 25, 2021

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