Opportunity to co-create strengthens the trust and cohesion
Strengthening the participation of migrants in local communities
IOM Slovenia concluded the series of six capacity-building trainings within the Includ-EU project with the online training on strengthening the participation of migrants in local communities held on 24 March 2022. The training was implemented by Ms. Irena Guidikova from the Council of Europe. Ms. Mirna Buić from the Cultural and Educational Association – PiNA from Koper and Mr. Rok Primožič, Head of the Department of Social Affairs of the Municipality of Škofja Loka, presented good practices of municipal advisory bodies on migration and integration issues.
In the first part, Ms. Irena Guidikova, Head of Division for Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Programmes of the Council of Europe provided an insight into interculturalism on local level. She emphasized that integration policies should encompass all aspects of a person’s life, and not address integration needs and support in silos, as integration is an organic process. She introduced the principles of intercultural integration: equality (and equity), diversity (as a resource/asset and not a problem) and interaction (as opportunity to co-create strengthens the trust and cohesion); and outlined the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism. She outlined the strategic approach to managing and promoting intercultural integration in cities based on factors assessed in the Intercultural Cities (ICC) Index. Cities ranking higher on the ICC Index are safer, with higher trust in the administration, better job opportunities and better services. She presented the Intercultural Cities programme which supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage.
The second part was dedicated to the presentation of two Slovenian good practises of coordination of migration- and integration-related issues on municipal level. Ms. Mirna Buić, Project Manager at the Cultural and Educational Association – PiNA from Koper, introduced the Municipal Coordination Body for Migrant Inclusion and Migration which operates under the auspices of the Municipality of Koper. Prior to establishing the coordination body, participating stakeholders mapped all available services and programs in the municipality, conducted needs assessment and developed a strategic document. The multi-stakeholder body established in 2021 discusses measures targeting migrants and inclusion of migrants in policy development.
Mr. Rok Primožič, Head of the Department of Social Affairs of the Municipality of Škofja Loka, presented the Council for Inclusion of the Municipality of Škofja Loka. The Council was established as a response to the language barrier identified by local educational institutions and the need for enhanced inter-institutional collaboration. The advisory body discussed the introduction of intercultural mediation at municipal level. A training on intercultural mediation was organized for public institutions, and in 2021 two intercultural mediators started providing intercultural mediation support primarily in educational settings. While in this initial period the Council focuses on responding to identified immediate needs, a more systematic and systemic-level approach to measures for migrant inclusion is foreseen in the future.
The discussion in the concluding part of the event focused on the importance of enhancing the availability of intercultural mediation throughout the country and the need to professionalize intercultural mediation, including by establishing an evaluation process for intercultural mediators. Intercultural mediation does not only help migrants, but the public institutions, service providers and the local community benefit as a whole.
Graphic harvest of the training was done by Lara Kastelic from Nariši mi zgodbo.
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