Ensuring the inclusion of refugees and migrants in the societies they have settled in is one of the current challenges facing European countries. In order to address this challenge, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Europe, has been hosting an Inclusion Academy during 2017.
Currently in its first edition, the Academy has brought together representatives from community based organizations working with migrants and refugees in Sweden, Denmark and Finland who have a refugee/migrant background themselves. The selected participants were invited to receive training on human rights and on tools they can apply to improve the work of their organizations.
The training is composed of three face-to-face modules – where the participants meet and attend workshops and trainings at RWI in Lund -, online courses, coaching sessions, and shadowing of politicians or civil society organizations. Along these, participants also receive support and feedback from RWI staff.
The second module of the Inclusion Academy was recently completed with insightful discussions and inspiring exchanges among the participants. The goal of this module was to provide them with hands-on activities on advocacy, communication strategies, and project management.
The week kick-started with each participant presenting the progress of their projects, where they shared thoughts on how to sharpen their problem areas into a more focused framework. By refining, sharpening and targeting the problems, they have identified in the making of their projects, the participants will be able to develop even more effective and focused solutions.
The promotion of inclusion is at the heart of all of their projects. They discussed the necessity of developing inclusive activities to bring refugees’ communities and the Swedish communities together, as well as the need to tackle the isolation of asylum seekers, especially women and children, in the Nordic countries. They also shared information on how they have been applying the tools learned in the first module and distance based activities, to the work of their organizations.
The week’s sessions focused on enhancing participants’ advocacy and project management skills, and communication strategies. Specific topics included impactful storytelling to practical tools on how to engage the public through social media, and advocacy practices particular to the Nordic countries.
“The participants in the inclusion academy are incredibly engaged individuals who I have no doubt will do great things going forward,” says Gabriel Stein, head of Communications at RWI, who was responsible for several days of in-depth training on communication strategy with a focus on targeting the right audiences with impact. “We spoke a great deal about the impact of storytelling and did hands on work so they can best tell the stories about themselves, their organisations and why their causes are urgent.”
What is next?
In the next and final module, which will take place from 14-16 November, workshops will further address communication strategies, along with fundraising strategies, and how to keep a sustainable work environment. Upcoming activities also include the shadowing of politicians or civil society organizations working on similar issues, and continued coaching sessions for each participant.