SETTING THE SCENE: Participation & Co-Creation for Refugee & Migrant Integration in the EU
Building inclusive co-design processes amongst citizens: AMIF programmes
Vincenzo Castelli, Consorzio Nova ONLUS, Italy
Vincenzo Castelli of Consorzio Nova ONLUS (Italy) presented the activities, lessons and recommendations generated by a series of programmes funded by the Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (AMIF) and implemented by Consorzio Nova in the region of Sicily (IMPACT and PRISMA programmes). In all projects, one of the central elements of the work was focused on co-planning, on the active participation of the migrant world in the implementation of interventions.
He began by highlighting the challenges and opportunities presented by the presence of refugees and migrants for public authorities and other mainstream service providers. He described how migration at least in part ‘undermines’ traditional models of service delivery, but identified migrants as agents of change who can prompt new and more inclusive ways of providing services and support that also benefit host communities.
He outlined the limitations of national and EU funding for integration and inclusion, which support work with migrants and refugees with regular status only, and the challenges of building sustained engagement and participation in a context of rapidly changing and often restrictive migration and asylum policies.
He provided an overview of the activities of the IMPACT and PRISMA programmes, including:
- Building inclusive policy for migrants at the regional level (in school education, access to integration services, providing information through regional and territorial communication channels, and promoting of the active participation of migrants in all areas of community life).
- Mapping theparticipatory processes of migrants, via consultation withapproximately 60 formal and informal migrant organisations.
- Establishing an intercultural school for migrant leaders.
He concluded by presenting the key learning points and recommendations generated by the projects:
- The need for multi-annual, cross-sector regional planningfor migration that is integrated with wider planning in areas such as health, social services, training, work, education and housing.
- The ways in which processes and services that are inclusive of migrants and address their needs produce benefits for local communities and at the regional level, for example in poverty reduction, decent work for all, and more accessible social services.
- How refugee and migrant participation promotes active citizenship, improves services, facilitates cultural diversity and boosts partnerships and cooperation amongst public authorities and other stakeholders.
- The importance of adjusting systems to scale up successful initiatives developed in the field of participation, including through structures such as the design and innovation laboratory developed by the PRISMA project to‘revise and re-programme’services and policy and promote innovative practice.
- The crucial role of training and capacity-building, both for migrants, refugees and their associations and the professionals working with them.