Train the Trainers Meeting in the Netherlands for Cultural Orientation Trainers

Compiled by Mia McKenzie, National Network Focal Point for the Netherlands

During the final week of January 2014, IOM The Netherlands hosted the 2014 Train the Trainers meeting in The Hague to launch two pre-departure cultural orientation projects:  NLCO and CO-Nareis.

The two projects follow a similar curriculum and use the same network of trainers worldwide to provide migrants with factual information and necessary skills to build a successful future in the Netherlands. One key difference is the target group – CO-Nareis targets family reunification migrants who have received approval from the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) to join their family members in the Netherlands. Conversely, the NLCO project targets refugees under the Dutch resettlement project who are selected on a dossier-basis. On average, the Netherlands receives 500 refugees under its resettlement programme each year. Approximately 380 are trained by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in groups following a selection mission, while the remaining 120 receive cultural orientation under the IOM NLCO project.

IOM The Netherlands uses a global network of fourteen IOM trainers to provide pre-departure cultural orientation in the country of departure. Trainers use their knowledge and experience to help refugees establish realistic expectations of their future in the Netherlands, while also providing them with the necessary skills to enable a smooth integration. Overall, the aims of NLCO and CO-Nareis are to enhance migrants and refugees’ chances of succeeding in the Netherlands.

For this Train the Trainers meeting, IOM The Netherlands welcomed trainers from Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon and Thailand, all of whom received intensive in-house training on the Dutch Cultural Orientation curriculum and participated in visits to meet resettled refugees and Dutch stakeholders. Over the four day workshop, the trainers and resettlement stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss experiences and challenges, and to learn more about the specificities of the Dutch cultural orientation curriculum and Dutch culture.

IOM and COA work closely together to ensure that their curriculums align; this is to ensure that all resettlement refugees receive similar cultural orientation training regardless of whether they are trained as a group by COA or in smaller sessions by IOM. A COA trainer played a key role during the Train the Trainers meeting by leading the in-house training units.

Since the official launch of both projects in September 2013, 66 migrants have receive cultural orientation training in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Thailand, Ethiopia, Cuba and Uganda.

To learn more about the NLCO and CO-Nareis projects, please visit:

To learn more about the curriculum and content that these projects utilize, please visit the CO website:

Photo: IOM Cultural Orientation Trainers meet in The Hague