Democracy and participation, Social inclusion

Inclusion is democracy

Migrant advocacy - from integration to inclusion. Democracy at work.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Eyachew Tefera

Institute for African Studies

https://african-studies.org/

Slovenia

Idea

Idea pitch

Slovenia's new integration strategy for migrants and refugees is severely lacking where it should be strongest: a) in providing migrant and refugees out of the Ljubljana (capital city) urban center with equally qualitative services; b) policies that would substitute integration for inclusion; and c) providing the migrants and refugees with real opportunities for active participation and self-management of their process of inclusion and in their new social environment.

Where will your project idea take place?

Towns affected: Kranj (Gorenjska region), Celje (Savinjska region) and Koper (Coastal region) in Slo

What is the local challenge?

Towns and their regions are facing a large influx of migrants and refugees. Previously the majority of migrants were concentrating in Ljubljana (capital city). The Slovenian integration system is overly centralized: 1) services are rare and lacking (in quantity, quality and in attitude toward users) in non-central regions, 2) it does not provide any possibility for the migrant to actively participate in the forming and implementation of the integration policies in the local level, and 3) it gives limited powers to local authorities. The recent Integration Strategy is recognised as main obstacle to integration endeavors that directly leads to the lack of democracy and social cohesion on the municipal level. However, the problem is not further addressed, integration can not be in vacuum.

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

The consequences of lack of effectiintegration policies among migrants are high poverty level, attempted sucide, and socio-economic exclusion. This leads to no motivation for active participation in the life of the local community. And that reinforces the exclusion. Our idea of a mobile group of migrants from above-mentioned towns that we will train in migrant advocacy and intercultural mediation, networking will strengthen the democratic processes and engage them as active citizenship to regularly visit the towns and engage in the debates on the norms of EU values, democracy, opportunities, r with the local communities, municipal structures(mayor, local council), youth sectors, diff. institutions, chamber commerce; Creating open spaces for migrants and local authorities.

Who are you doing it for?

Our activities will affect the following target groups:
1. Migrant communities in three towns. 100 in each town.
2. Official representatives of the politics on the local (municipality) level (mayor, local council, political parties, youth).
3. Employed in the public and private institutions that are working with migrants (e.g. health care providers, social services, educational institutions for children and adults…). Four institutions in each town.
4. The general public at the town level.
Debates & good practices to revolve around democratic changes in the integration policies at the local level, the inclusion of the range of ideas will differ by target groups and will include: focus groups, advocacy meetings, round tables, group visits to institutions, companies, presentation.

How do you plan to get there?

1. We already have an established network among migrants and candidates for migrant advocacy training.
2. Migrant advocacy and awareness-raising campaign training for migrants.
3. Informing and networking with local NGO-s and other institutions and organizations.
4. Implementing the targeted advocacy campaign (e.g. presentation visits to local councils; round tables).
5. Implementing the targeted awareness-raising campaign (e.g. presentations in local media, local public libraries).
6. Organizing public debates and focused groups about migrant inclusion in the local milieu.
7. Preparing official suggestions for local authorities regarding migrant inclusion processes and corresponding legal changes.
8. Presentation of the suggestions to the local councils.

What are the expected results?

1. Nine migrants will be trained to implement targeted advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns in the local environment.
2. Local migrant communities will change their attitude toward their own potential for active participation in local socio-economical and political life.
3. Three new methods (one for the particular local milieu) will be developed for addressing migrants' needs and wishes.
4. The attitude of the two local public and/or private institutions toward migrant's needs and migrant's inclusion will be changed in a positive direction.
5. The attitude of the political structures at the local level will be more positive regarding migrant's inclusion in political life. At least one local or internal legal act will be change to reflect that.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Slovenian integration policy doesn't distinguish between the concepts of integration and inclusion. The emphasis on integration, which is reduced to the "duty to integrate": the duty to adopt the laws, rules, and norms of the host society. Inclusion, which, as noted in the brain trust "Friends of Europe" (cf. Real People, True Stories: Refugees for more Inclusive Societies, Friends of Europe - October 2018) inclusion requires that we provide everyone with real opportunities for equal participation in political, economic, social, and cultural life, although this requires a change and adaptation of existing laws and regulations. This is much more in accordance with Europe’s core values of personal freedom, solidarity, active civil society, and human dignity as a foundation for democracy.

What is your story?

We are actively involved in the Slovenian integration activities since 2011. We were, basically, implementing projects financed directly by the RS or EU, but whose activities were decided on the state level. We had the opportunity to also cooperate with the preparation of the new SOPS agreement. Doing all this we came to the conclusion that integration policy in Slovenia is going in the wrong direction: while it should embrace the concept of inclusion as a guiding principle it seems that it actively seeks out to forcibly implement the inefficient and outdated concept of integration through assimilation. We are seeing daily how migrant's motivations and potentials for active participation in a new milieu wanes because of this.

€ 41500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 41500,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Staff cost: 25.000,00
Costs for volunteers: 1000,00
Travel: 3000,00
Office expenses: 2000,00
Public relations: 3000,00
Trainers: 2000,00
Translations: 4000,00
Renting places: 1500,00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any kind of advice regarding persuading local authorities to take more responsibility for the inclusion of migrants even though the official integration system is highly centralized, will be most welcome.

Team

IAS

Eyachew IAS

Idea created on May 25, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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