RIME: innovative and creative tools for the inclusion of refugees
[Translation : EPALE France]
Christophe Miqueu, Professor of Philosophy, University of Bordeaux (INSPE - SPH) is a specialist in the history of political thought and the philosophy of education.
He has evaluated the results of the international cooperation project RIME - Refugee’s Inclusion Moves Europe, which aims to develop the skills of those working towards the inclusion and support of refugees. Over a period of 2.5 years, the project allowed professionals from 7 organisations to exchange, experiment, develop and initiate the innovative practices described in this article.
Here is the summary of his evaluation.
The main achievement of the project was the creation of different materials, with an immediate practical approach, aimed at inclusion in the long term, allowing refugees to become cohabitants, colleagues, and eventually fellow citizens. Here is a summary of the three tools tested.
- A methodology for the creation of a welcome guide that can be transposed to different local contexts and that integrates the migrants' experience
The partners carried out a synthetic and precise analysis of the current conditions for welcoming refugees and the laws in force in each of the countries involved in the project (France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Sweden), in order to deploy more practical and operational tools.
As a starting point, the partners used the “Refugee Guide” created by Welcome Bordeaux. The guide was analysed to see how it could become replicable and more widely disseminated in Europe, adapting to different local contexts.
The resulting report and toolkit, intended to facilitate the duplication of the guide, thus testify to the quality of the reflection carried out and the ongoing collective work.
On the basis of this research and collaboration, a guide for asylum seekers was developed for Malta. It is a real operational tool; it is readable and takes into account short, medium and long term issues.
The integration of migrants themselves in the design and discussions on the content and production of this guide has been particularly successful: it has enabled the tool to be at the very heart of the issues and realities addressed.
Interviews were conducted with refugees to promote their inclusion, to record their experiences, to give them a voice and to cross-reference their stories. According to the professor, these interviews could even have been conducted without guiding questions, giving them complete freedom of speech.
- Comics as a universal tool for collecting complex life experiences and conveying information
A collective comic was produced to highlight the different stories of refugees' experiences in the different partner countries of the project. It was produced under the direction of the European partners with a Franco-Cameroonian comic book writer Christophe Edimo, thus ensuring creative unity. This comic book respectfully records life experiences, transcribes the tragic moments and the complex nature of being welcomed, while highlighting the importance of stabilisation, the discovery of others and the gradual inclusion in a new environment.
The use of comics makes it possible to address the largest possible number of people and to convey messages in a way that is understandable, going beyond the language barrier. This tool also helps to train peer support assistants using simple and clear messages.
- From migrants to providers of support: inclusion through peers
The partners promoted the inclusion of newcomers through peers, and worked on how to train these peer support assistants - a very innovative proposal. Peers have a better understanding of the problems and often tragic situations they have experienced themselves, and facilitate exchanges thanks to a common culture that limits misunderstandings and apprehension, which are high on arrival in a new host country. This also allows us to remember the tragic context of exile and to value life experiences.
This part of the project, supported by the COS Alexander Glasberg Foundation, aimed to develop peer support skills with a focus on integration through employment. Two tools have been created to achieve this objective.
The first tool is a training curriculum built on an experiment in mentoring in the hospitality industry. It is aimed at trainers and refugees, helping them to understand the essential skills they need to acquire in order to be able to help future arrivals. It includes feedback from recent refugees who have undergone training and from refugees who have become peer support assistants, to provide a better understanding the true impact of these new practices and any points to be wary of. This training course, which includes a number of materials, bears witness to the ongoing work of peer support in the refugee reception sector.
The second tool is a mapping of refugee inclusion against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This tool, made up of guides and short animation videos, allows for a perfect combination of general approaches and local responses. It demonstrates that welcoming refugees with decency at the local level, along with peer support as an operational solution, meets the SDGs on health, inequality, gender equality and the fight against climate change.
In conclusion: by relying on the Refugee Guide, which has confirmed its relevance in the field of refugee reception, by including the multiplicity of life paths and the participatory method, by using comics as a universal medium, and by encouraging peer support, the RIME project gives a credible perspective on the major issue of the medium- and long-term stabilisation of new arrivals, in particular through economic inclusion and collective autonomy.
See the full evaluation on the RIME website : https://rime-refugees-inclusion.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Rime-note-Ch-Miqueu-EN.pdf