The journey of Includ-EU

A quick look at what we have achieved together.

Over the last 3 years Includ-EU supported local and regional authorities across Europe in promoting diversity and migrant inclusion while proving how transnational exchange and peer learning can be of help for inclusion processes. We are proud of what the Includ-EU Consortium has achieved towards building more inclusive and cohesive European societies. It has done so by enhancing transnational knowledge sharing, cooperation, and partnerships between local and regional authorities.

With the support of DG HOME, the project contributed to the EU’s Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion. It did so by promoting equitable access to housing and healthcare for migrants and maximizing their education and employment outcomes as well as social and political participation. In addition, Includ-EU has improved knowledge and capacities of local and regional authorities and stakeholders through training programmes, study visits, webinars, regional and national events and workshops. Moreover, the project nurtured a learning community across Europe on integration policies and practices at the regional and local level, which capitalizes on the diversity of territorial approaches, policies and practices on integration. Through its activities, Includ-EU has empowered local and regional authorities to support migrants to realize their rights and to become active members of their communities.

Each piece of this puzzle paved the way for the adoption of strategic and innovative approaches, such as whole-of-society and holistic approach, for working towards the reach of the SDGs through innovative partnerships, while boosting a counter narrative to migration and anti-discrimination measures. Structured and meaningful exchanges aimed to raise awareness, encourage knowledge and experience sharing, and foster transnational partnerships with a view to enhance Third Country Nationals’ (TCNs) inclusion at local level.

Promoting knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer capacity building

Includ-EU not only recognized territorial differences within and across countries on the implementation of integration measures, but also leveraged on the latter to improve regional and local capacities, as well as optimize existing networks and resources. Beyond those participating as partners and associate partners, the project involved a wide network of European regions and municipalities. Such diversity ensured meaningful exchanges between more and less experienced target beneficiaries and inspired innovation at local and EU level. By enabling a better understanding of local integration experiences, promoting knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer capacity building, the project reinforced the coordination capacity of national integration strategies across different levels of government. It also contributed to enhancing multi-level cooperation, including with EU networks in interconnected policy areas in line with EU integration policy priorities. In addition, with a view to expanding the network and multiplying its effects, synergies and cooperation with other EU-funded Actions were created.

Includ-EU main results

Considering its main results, Includ-EU:

  1. enhanced local and regional actors’ knowledge and capacities to implement innovative integration measures by: (i) analysing integration practices to distil thematic policy recommendations which were included in five policy briefings around the thematic priorities identified by the EU Action Plan; (ii) offering tailored capacity building opportunities, including six training programmes composed of 49 sessions for 1,052 participants; (iii) organizing 12 thematic study visits and exchanges in the countries part of the project for 377 participants; (iv) held 16 structured national dialogues around those thematic areas which were found particularly sensitive and of interest to national and local authorities at the presence of 597 participants;
  2. promoted the implementation of innovative integration actions at territorial level, identifying lessons to enable their replication or scaling up, specifically:
    • The Region of Crete (Greece) implemented a pilot project to ensure the provision of more inclusive health services. The pilot project consisted of two main initiatives regarding: the implementation of the Personal Health Record (e-PHR) to enhance knowledge about refugees’ and migrants’ health needs and ensure that their health assessment records are available at transit and destination countries; the establishment of “Info Help Desks” (i.e. interpretation and mediation services) in two public hospitals in Heraklion (Crete), to ensure common understanding between patients and health professionals.
    • ANCI Toscana (Italy) carried out a pilot project in the Region of Tuscany aimed at the creation of a permanent territorial network addressing the housing needs of vulnerable migrants. As housing is one of the greatest challenges for refugees exiting the reception system in Italy, the pilot defined a model that promotes an effective, sustainable and respectful housing transition through the adoption of a participatory approach and the promotion of collaborative housing solutions through public-private partnerships. The pilot project led to Guidelines for the design and management of housing transition pathways with a collaborative approach, a Memorandum of public-private cooperation on housing transition of migrants; and Regional guidelines on the transition and socio-housing inclusion of TNCs to orient regional housing policies.
    • IOM in Italy, in partnership with the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, designed a pilot project focused on social inclusion of students with migratory background. The pilot initiative consisted of a capacity building programme for around 35 schoolteachers to strengthen the latter’s intercultural and diversity management competences.
    • City of Tilburg (The Netherlands) implemented the pilot Integration+, which aimed to provide information and orientation to migrants allocated to the Region Hart van Brabant at an early stage and in a centralized way. As such, the pilot implemented a model of early integration foreseen by the New Civic Integration Law (January 2022). In this framework, the City of Tilburg focused on the professionalization of the Refugee Advisory Board (RAB), an innovative body constituted of local residents with migratory background that advises policy makers on matters related to migrant inclusion since 2018.
    • IOM in Romania supported the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca in launching a One-Stop Shop, designed as both a digital platform and a physical office. The project aimed to provide migrants with the information they need in order to start their socio-economic integration in the city. Activities developed a promising network with local authorities that is likely to lead to future collaborations.
    • IOM in Slovenia supported the Adult Education Centre in Jesenice in designing and implementing a pilot program on enhancing migrants’ digital skills and social inclusion. Two groups of migrants underwent a 60-hour capacity-building program which blended digital skills and Slovene language workshops. The pilot enhanced the digital skills of residents with a migration background while equipping them with practical knowledge about orientation in the local community and improving their language skills.
    • The Ministry for Equality and Feminisms (DIFE) of the Region of Catalonia (Spain) implemented a pilot mentoring project for unaccompanied girls who have come of age (18-23 years old) in Catalonia. The activities built mentoring relationships between young girls and female university students to promote psycho-social guidance, empowerment, and the prevention of violence. The pilot developed a widely applicable model of mentoring for social inclusion that contributed to the emotional balance and social skills development of its beneficiaries.
  3. set an informal network that encouraged and leveraged on diversity as an added value to facilitate integration, through the organization of:
    • six regional thematic workshops and a final event, four of which onsite (with hybrid modalities) whereas three were fully online. Overall, they counted with the attendance of 493 participants from 14 different countries;
    • five thematic webinars, each on one thematic priority as outlined in the EU Action Plan. Overall, 630 participants registered.

Finally, all content created and disseminated on the Includ-EU channels will remain available beyond the project end. As these channels became widely known by the Includ-EU network and now constitute a reliable source of information, they will continue to guarantee the impact of its actions.

Ways forward

National and international exchange networks are paramount as they favour knowledge sharing and capacity building. In this respect, networks like Includ-EU are key to the fostering of skill development and exchange, be it locally, nationally, or at the European level. The Includ-EU network, driven by an unwavering commitment to innovation and inclusivity, will continue to inspire and shape future EU policies by embracing diversity and holistic integration.

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