EXPERT PRACTITIONER PANEL 2:
Participation in Policy, Advocacy & Governance
Participation in governance & decision-making: Académie pour la participation des personnes réfugiées
Frédérique Pharaboz, Délégation interministérielle à l'accueil et à l'intégration des réfugiées (DiAIR, France)
Frédérique Pharaboz of the délégation interministérielle à l'accueil et l'intégration des réfugiées (DiAIR, France) presented the Académie pour la participation des personnes réfugiées (Academy for the Participation of Refugees), a national programme implemented by a partnership of DiAIR, UNHCR France and SHARE Network partner the Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI).
The Academy programme aims to give refugees a voice in French public policymaking, via the participation of 10 refugees in organisational Boards and consultative, policy and decision-making mechanisms. The programme was formally launched on 8 October 2020 - watch the launch event below:
The programme is structured into two phases:
- Preparation phase: In recognition of the need to prepare refugees in order that they are able to participate equally, Academy participants complete a 6-month programme of training and mentorship activities. Activities to build soft skills such as public speaking and participating in meetings, and competence in understanding French law and administration.
- Participation phase: A 12-month period in which refugees take up positions on boards and management committees of organisations and institutions which have reserved places for their participation. The national refugee-assisting NGO France Terre d'Asile has confirmed its participation in this area of the project, and discussions are underway with other potential partners.
All participating refugees receive compensation for expenses and fees for their time during the preparation phase.
A call for applications from refugees interested in taking part in the Academy programme was also launched in October 2020, and was publicised via social media. The three partners additionally facilitated a webinar providing information on the programme and application process on 6 November 2020. Telephone interviews were carried out with 230 applicants, and the final selection process was concluded on 15 December 2020 using the following criteria:
- French langauge competence (B1-B2 level).
- Previous/current involvement in associations working to promote the rights and wellbeing of migrants and refugees.
- NOT existing specialists or experts, but instead those who would benefit from the training and capacity-building offered by the Academy programme.
- Diversity and balance of selected participants in terms of age, gender, (dis)ability, country of origin and place of residence in France.