Preparing Welcoming Communities Training Curriculum

 SHARE 'Preparing Welcoming Communities Training Curriculum'
 

I. What is the Preparing Welcoming Communities Training Curriculum?

The SHARE 'Preparing Welcoming Communities Training Curriculum' was developed jointly by the partners of the SHARE Integration project: ICMC Europe, Caritas Austria, Caritas International (BE), Migrafrica (DE), Consorzio Communitas (IT), The Dutch Council for Refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service Romania, Jesuit Refugee Service Portugal, Caritas Diocese of Salford (UK) and Forum Réfugiés (FR). The curriculum aims to strengthen the capacity of local actors to welcome refugees. The curriculum primarily targets welcoming efforts through resettlement, sponsorship and other legal pathways, however many of the modules are relevant for welcoming efforts more broadly. The curriculum provides resources to implement training programmes for a wide range of local stakeholders, in 12 thematic training modules, each of which include presentation slides, participant materials and trainer guides.

II. Why a training curriculum for welcoming communities?

Establishing a new resettlement programme or other refugee welcoming programme involves a great deal of planning and coordination with a wide range of stakeholders. Political representatives, churches, sports clubs, associations and other local actors can be highly effective partners in welcoming refugees. Welcoming refugees through resettlement and other legal pathways is different from welcoming migrants or asylum seekers who arrive on their own. Many of the municipalities newly engaging in resettlement are small-size cities and rural areas. Compared to large cities, these smaller municipalities often lack the capacity, resources and know-how to address special needs of resettled refugees in mainstream integration contexts.

Partnerships between local authorities and civil society, however, can bridge these capacity gaps in order to provide support which is targeted to the specific needs and strengths of resettled refugees. The curriculum offers a learning pathway to support local actors (especially those in smaller communities) to overcome capacity gaps and better serve refugees.

III. Methodology: How was the curriculum developed?

SHARE partners jointly developed the training curriculum through piloting and evaluation in 17 different municipalities in eight countries. Specifically, Caritas Austria, Caritas International (BE), Migrafrica (DE), Consorzio Communitas (IT), The Dutch Council for Refugees, Jesuit Refugee Service Romania, Jesuit Refugee Service Portugal, and Caritas Diocese of Salford (UK) contributed to the curriculum, together with Forum Refugies (FR), an associate partner of the project (and engaged to deliver the curriculum in South Eastern France). SHARE partners first met in Brussels in April 2018 to discuss learning needs and capacity gaps in small municipalities and rural areas, based on each organisation’s respective experience. While the legal and operational context varied significantly across the distinct country contexts, the partners were able to identify many common challenges (finding affordable housing, raising awareness in the host community, navigating complex legal and administrative processes, etc.) and, based on these, selected training topics and learning objectives for the curriculum.

SHARE partners then developed draft modules - each one developed by partners in at least two countries - as well as assessment and evaluation tools. Each organisation then implemented pilot trainings during summer and fall 2018: small cities and rural areas that were newly engaging in resettlement and welcoming refugees were targeted; participants completed common needs assessment forms prior to the training; SHARE partners then selected appropriate modules, and delivered the trainings, and participants completed evaluation forms at the end of each training. The partners then came back together to reflect on participant feedback and on what went well and what needed to be improved; ICMC Europe then led the revisions of the modules prior to publishing in 2019. See the chart below to understand where each module was initially piloted.

In total, 17 pilot training events were delivered in eight European countries, reaching more than 500 participants hailing from 35 municipalities - primarily with populations of under 150.000. Participants provided a great deal of positive feedback through the evaluation forms: 95% found the training useful for their work, and 93% would recommend it to others in their field.

At the same time, a number of lessons learned were identified from the evaluation forms. Key recommendations for future trainings included: requesting a longer training; incorporating refugee voices as much as possible – as either trainers or participants. The fact that the training was provided free-of-charge was also of enormous value to participants, who reported a lack of other similar opportunities.

Finally, SHARE partners and trainers also found that the trainings can serve as an opportunity to engage with new stakeholders, promote positive experiences and encourage new actors to get involved or expand their involvement in hosting refugees. In this sense, the trainings play both capacity building and advocacy roles. This feedback and other findings from the evaluations and the experience delivering the trainings were incorporated into ICMC’s revisions of the modules.

IV. How should the curriculum be used?

The training curriculum can be used to facilitate a 1-day (or longer) training which provides background information and exposes participants to relevant resources to help them welcome resettled refugees.

The intended audience of the training include a wide range of stakeholders including local authorities, mainstream service providers (social, health, education etc.), public employment bodies, political representatives, religious associations, sports clubs, and volunteers. Trainings should be delivered by experienced actors: the curriculum is not meant as a self-study toolkit, but rather a curriculum which can be facilitated by trainers knowledgeable on the issue in the local context. Indeed, all curriculum materials are provided as editable powerpoint and word documents so that trainers can make edits and changes as appropriate. Indeed, the modules are meant as a base and should be adapted to the local language and context as appropriate. The trainer guides note specific places in each module where it would be particularly helpful to include local-contextual information.

Experience delivering the pilot trainings suggests that one helpful approach to using the curriculum is through implementation by NGO actors (or others familiar with the national context) as a way to engage and support new municipalities in resettlement. The training event can serve as an opportunity to develop new partnerships – i.e. between the NGO and municipalities, as well as among municipalities at regional and national levels. The training event can also be valuable as an opportunity to engage new actors and advocate for the creation or expansion of a resettlement or other refugee-welcoming programme.

The training topics are divided into five categories: Fundamentals, Preparing for Arrivals, Ensuring Wellbeing, Accessing the Labour Market, and Working with Volunteers. The modules are not presented in any particular order, and trainers can use any one or all of the modules. Each module starts with a short introduction about how the curriculum was created, as well as an icebreaker activity, and an overview of the learning objectives, before continuing into the module content.

Training providers interested in specific modules can contact ICMC Europe for further inquiries. 

Module Name and Section

Minimum Time Needed

Learning Objectives

Dates and locations where this module was piloted

1. Fundamentals

 

1.1 Legal Basis for Refugee Protection

2.5hr

  • To address the following questions:
  • Why does refugee law exist?
  • Who is a refugee?
  • How does asylum work in Europe?
  • What is resettlement?
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Varese, Italy (Oct 2018)
  • Castelo Branco, (Oct 2018) and Leiria (Nov 2018), Portugal
  • Salzburg, Austria (Jan 2019)

 

1.2 Housing

 

1.5hr

  • To assess the current housing system in the local and/or national context.
  • To understand that integration is a complex two-sided process and the important role of local communities in receiving and providing housing for refugees.
  • To learn about good practices in welcoming and providing housing to refugees.
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Celle Ligure, Italy (Sep 2018)
  • Castelo Branco, Portugal (Oct 2018)
  • Galati and Somcuta Mare, Romania (Sep 2018)

1.3 Setting up a Steering Committee for Resettlement

 

2.5hr

  • To understand what resettlement is and how to pilot a new resettlement programme locally.
  • To learn how to identify and mobilize actors involved in resettlement.
  • To gain an understanding of some of the challenges of piloting a resettlement programme and how to overcome them.
  • Varese, Italy (Oct 2018)
  • Leiria, Portugal (Nov 2018)
  • Amplepuis (Nov 2018) and Belleville en Beaujolais (Jan 2019), France

2. Preparing for Arrivals

 

2.1 Understanding Expectations and Culture Shock of Refugee Newcomers

 

2hr

  • To become aware of the impact that migration and integration have on a refugee in a new country.
  • To understand why refugees’ expectations are sometimes perceived as ‘very high.’
  • To understand the culture shock ‘curve.’
  • Leuven, Oostende (Sep 2018) and Brussels, Belgium (Dec 2018 & March 2019)
  • Castelo Branco, (Oct 2018) and Leiria (Nov 2018), Portugal
  • Galati and Somcuta Mare, Romania (Sep 2018)

 

2.2 Managing expectations of the Host Community

 

2hr

  • To identify common expectations of people and organizations involved in hosting refugees.
  • To acquire techniques to deal with these expectations.
  • To become aware of secondary/onward movement.
  • Leuven and Oostende, Belgium, September 2018
  • Zaandam, Netherlands (August 2018)
  • Castelo Branco, (Oct 2018) and Leiria (Nov 2018), Portugal

 

3. Ensuring Wellbeing

 

3.1 Assessing Vulnerability

1.5hr

  • To become aware of different perspectives on, and dimensions of, vulnerability.
  • To learn how to use a vulnerability assessment tool in order to assess the strengths and challenges of people in vulnerable situations.
  • To become aware of how social workers and other professionals can help strengthen the autonomy of a person.
  • Leuven, Oostende (Sep 2018) and Brussels, Belgium (Dec 2018)
  • Galati and Somcuta Mare, Romania (Sep 2018)

3.2 Providing Psychosocial Support

 

2hr

  • To become aware of possible symptoms, causes and consequences of being forced to flee home.
  • To become aware of the boundaries of one’s capabilities in solving psychological problems and to learn how to provide appropriate referrals.
  • Leuven, Oostende (Sep 2018) and Brussels, Belgium (Dec 2018)
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Zaanstad, Netherlands (August 2018)
  • Salzburg, Austria (Jan 2019)

 

4. Accessing the Labour Market

 

4.1 Intercultural Mediation, Interpretation and Translation

 

1.5hr

  • To understand the meanings of interpretation, translation and intercultural mediation.
  • To gain an appreciation for the complexities of being a (good) interpreter, translator and mediator.
  • To gain empathy for migrants and refugees who must navigate administrative and legal processes in a foreign language.
  • To understand why, how and in what context professionals should work together with mediators.
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Castelo Branco, (Oct 2018) and Leiria (Nov 2018), Portugal

4.2 Labour Market Integration

 

1.5hr

  • Overall objective: to promote participatory approaches to labour market integration programmes.
  • To learn how to apply the ‘CLEAR model’ in evaluation and promotion of participatory labour market integration of refugees.
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Celle Ligure, Italy (Sep 2018)
  • Galati and Somcuta Mare, Romania (Sep 2018)

4.3 Intercultural Engagement

 

2hr

  • To develop awareness about intercultural issues in working with migrant and refugee communities.
  • To provide tools and questions to assess the intercultural competence in the structure, policies and training of an organization.
  • To provide information on good practices and resources for learning more about intercultural engagement.
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)
  • Varese, Italy (Oct 2018)
  • Castelo Branco, Portugal (Oct 2018)

5. Working with Volunteers

 

5.1 Working with Volunteers

 

2hr

  • To understand some of the challenges and advantages of working with volunteers.
  • To understand approaches to leadership which can be used when working with volunteers.
  • To learn how to recognize the roles, responsibilities and limits of each person, and the importance of ensuring professional boundaries between volunteers and refugees.
  • Zaanstad, Netherlands (August 2018)
  • Amplepuis (Nov 2018) and Belleville en Beaujolais (Jan 2019), France

5.2 Teaching the Local Language

1hr

  • To consider the diversity of language learner backgrounds, goals and motivation, and how these factors impact language acquisition.
  • To (re)experience learning an unknown language and reflect on the experience.
  • To explore the role of a volunteer language teacher.
  • Koningswinter and Bergisch Gladbach, Germany (Oct 2018)