Volunteering for integration
Civil society engagement plays a very important role in the process of integrating newly arrived immigrants. In the direct neighborhood, in the living environment, it is decided whether the integration of new immigrants and refugees will be successful. In addition to all state and municipal support programs, contact between people, between locals and new immigrants is of great importance.
The MAV project, which was carried out from autumn 2017 to October 2019 as part of the European Erasmus+ program, qualifies volunteers to contribute directly to the successful integration of migrants and refugees. The relevant qualification and motivation of the volunteer mentors are of special relevance for the success of the volunteering.
This is where the project "MAV-Multidimensional Training of Volunteers to Promote the Integration of Migrants" started: It focused on volunteers in order to participate directly in the integration process of migrants and refugees. The relevant motivation and qualifications of the volunteers are decisive for the success of volunteering. Therefore, the project aimed in a first step to attract migrants as volunteer companions for other migrants and then to train and further qualify them for their voluntary work. To this end, the project developed and tested various learning opportunities.
A learning platform qualifies mentors
This has resulted in four key products - each available in all six languages of the partners involved:
- The MAV guide for trainers and teachers presents the methodology of the project and focuses on the motivation of volunteers and preparation for the training;
- The MAV Toolkit provides information and resources for trainers to support voluntary mentors;
- A learning platform offers an online course for trainers and an online course for migrants who want to learn and take on the role of companions;
- The MAV Communication Guide is aimed at organizations and interest groups and is intended to raise awareness of the role of communication as a key element in integration processes.
All products are available for free for download on the project website.
Numerous decision-makers, teachers and participants involved
A total of 70 specialists and experts in various countries with expertise in the areas of migration and volunteering were consulted to create the products. In addition, more than 90 teachers were reached and involved, as well as over 160 migrants interested in volunteering to promote integration. Numerous decision-makers from the areas of school and vocational training as well as politically responsible adults have been involved in the dissemination process. This is to secure long-term interest in volunteering and at the same time ensure that the results can be used beyond the duration of the project. A follow-up project started in 2019 continues the previous work and develops the results.
ifa Akademie is a full subsidiary of ifa, Institute for Foreign Relations, in Stuttgart, Germany. ifa is funded by the German Federal Department for Foreign Affairs. ifa Akademie is ifa’s training and education center. ifa Akademie has four major training branches:
a) courses for German as a foreign language
b) seminars and trainings in the field of foreign cultural relations, education and vocational training, integration and social and cultural inclusion
c) European cooperation programmes
d) OER and online learning resources
In 2017, about 5.000 students attended courses at ifa Akademie. Special courses are offered for volunteers, public servants, NGOs and migrants’ institutions to support a smooth integration of migrants and refugees into the German host society. Key instruments are cultural communication tools, motivation methods, supervision, guidance programmes and local networking.
The University of Naples Federico II (UNINA) was established in 1224 through an Imperial Charter of Frederick II Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor. It was the first publicly funded University in Europe. Nowadays the University offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines, leading to one hundred fifty five graduate level degrees. Research facilities provide support to all these courses. Students are given the opportunity to pursue intellectual development as well as the acquisition of professional skills. Current student enrollment nears 90,000 and the academic personnel, at this time, are 3,121.
The Department of Political Science (UNINA-DPS) is one of the new 26 Departments of UNINA, and has managed to acquire a more structured and flexible sorting, aimed to the study of complex political and social problems of contemporary society throughout precise assessments and comparative approaches. Didactics and research are inspired by a multidisciplinary approach suitable to attain a broader understanding of social questions in order to meet the contemporary challenges. The actual courses of the Department of Political Science are functional to the achievement of expertise fully matching the evolution of the socio-economic system and the labor market, enhancing qualified employment opportunities.
Stefan cel Mare University of Suceava (USV) is a research and higher education public institution, based in the North-East region of Romania, providing various educational programmes for more than 9000 students.
The mission of USV is to promote and support the creation and dissemination of knowledge by means of quality education and training activities, research and innovation, human development and entrepreneurship at national and international standards, by promoting European fundamental principles together with the traditions and values of culture and civilization of Bucovina region, together with its specific multicultureal structures.
The main academic objectives pursued by Stefan cel Mare University in achieving the stated mission aim at strengthening the position of national and European institutions in the area of education and research through the development of educational and training offer to meet the needs and requirements of the local community, the development of international relations, opening the University to society by increasing concerns for lifelong learning and developing partnerships with economic entities for technology transfer, research and innovation.
USV developed and implemented the educational electronic platform “AeL Platform”. The platform is a portal for managing e-Learning educational content, designing and populating databases specific to electronic education, creating a system of management training and training related documents, increasing e-Learning, learning performance techniques and ensuring e-Learning services for proper communication infrastructure.
D.A.F.N.I KEK (Developing Advanced Forces and New ideas through Continuing VET) is a non for profit training institution targeting unemployed and NEETs social and market integration. DAFNI KEK was founded in 1996 by a team of scientists with the aim of combating unemployment especially in the female and youth populations. It aims to address these issues with high level vocational training based on the latest educational methods and technological innovations.
It functions as a Certified Vocational Training Center certified by the Greek Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with a nationwide range of activities. DAFNI KEK is based in Patras, state of Achaia, Western Greece and the main offices are located in Elaiochorion of Dytiki Achaia – a rural area with roma and underprivileged populations (agricultural or domestic occupations).
DAFNI KEK's main vision is to provide possibilities in order to enhance the well being of the citizens especially those who are excluded from opportunities, with special concern to the youth in the threshold of labor market. DAFNI KEK develops several initiatives on local or European level by using tools and mechanisms as OPEN BADGES and e- portfolio and guidance for employability (both tools produced in the frame of Erasmus European Partnerships). Guidance includes holistic approaches that facilitate their transformation of life vision in more spiritual approaches, based on conversations with the aim of helping people learn, grow and fulfill their potential.
SYNTHESIS Center for Research and Education Ltd is a pioneering organisation which initiates and implements projects of positive social impact- particularly in the fields of entrepreneurship, employability, and social inclusion.
SYNTHESIS is the leader in the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation in Cyprus. It has founded and operates Hub Nicosia, a collaborative space and a community of organisations with primary social purpose.
SYNTHESIS is also a training provider, delivering entrepreneurial and soft skills training programmes. Its training programmes aim to inspire and empower learners and they consist of personal development and entrepreneurial modules. SYNTHESIS offers customised training programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, policy makers and teachers. It runs an in-service training course for European teachers, trainers, and adult educators on inspiring and enabling entrepreneurship in education and offers an exclusive blended entrepreneurship training programme, suitable for people with no business studies or background. SYNTHESIS also undertakes research and provide consulting services to governmental, non-governmental and private institutions.
MAKRO is a management development and consulting company, founded in 1984 and located in Ankara. Since then the company has been providing research, strategy and planning services to local & regional bodies and taking part in project work for personal and professional development of individuals in various communities incl. disadvantaged groups.
The activities in Turkey highly rely on collaborations with local & regional bodies (chambers of commerce and industry, regional development agencies, etc.) and comprise regional development services, such as; sectoral and innovation capacity assessments, reporting and strategic planning.
On the international level, MAKRO has been involved in a number of European projects. The projects have developed innovative training programmes for youth and adult individuals, mainly targeting social integration, entrepreneurial development (incl. innovative, social and migrant entrepreneurship), vocational development and provided via the use of contemporary distance learning methods.
Founded in 2002, e-mel is a professional services organisation specialising in business consulting and research.
It is part of a worldwide network of consultants and researchers in over 40 countries who can provide specialised and first-hand knowledge to help support UK companies looking to export to or import from new markets.
E-mel has broad experience in the development, design and implementation of training programmes and knows how to integrate volunteer services into the service offered by institutional front-line service providers. E-mel also offers services for social enterprises and non-profit organisations.
1. Transnational partner meeting in Naples
The first transnational partner meeting took place from 22 to 24 November 2017 at the Federico II University in Naples. During the meeting all work steps, the responsibilities of the project partners, the integration of the target group, the public relations work for the MAV-project as well as the internal administration and management were discussed.
Between November 2017 and April 2018 UNINA, as the lead partner, will conduct expert surveys regarding volunteering and migration with all project partners. The aim is to provide a manual with recommendations and guidelines for the development of educational and training material for volunteers, who accompany migrants during their integration in Europe.
Internal processes for quality assurance, evaluation of meetings, work processes and communication between the partners were also discussed.
The second partner meeting will take place at the end of March 2018 in Patras.
2nd partner meeting in Patras
The MAV project partners met in Patras on March 26 and 27, 2018. The host was DAFNIKEK. The focus of the meeting was the discussion of the “MAV Guide for Trainers”. This guide for teachers and tutors was developed under the direction of the Italian project partners. It contains comprehensive information on the concept and methodology of MAV, on the implementation of training units and contains practical advice.
After changes and additions that were made in Patras for the guide, the document is now translated into all partner languages.
In the second project step, which started in Patras, the “MAV Adult Learning Toolkit” is now being developed. The German partners are responsible for this as the leading institution. With this product, the trainers receive methodical-didactic modules for use in adult education with volunteers. From autumn onwards, the development and testing of the actual teaching and learning content will follow in the third project phase.
The next partner meeting will take place in Cyprus in September.
4th partner meeting in London
The partners of the MAV project met in London on February 12 and 13, 2019. The focus of the meeting was the development of online learning materials for trainers and immigrants. The documents for trainers provide examples of how learners in adult education can be encouraged to volunteer as mentors for immigrants and refugees. A second set of documents is aimed directly at volunteers with and without a migration background who want to work as mentors for immigrants.
At the meeting in London, the partners also decided to build the MAV learning platform on Moodle. A previously used format, which was aimed at more technically oriented content, had turned out to be less suitable and too inflexible when it was first tried out. The new platform now offers attractive options for attractively presenting the various materials from MAV.
All partners are currently working on the online learning materials. This is coordinated by the partners in Greece. All materials should be ready by the end of March so that they can be loaded onto the platform in April, revised and tested from May.
At the meeting in London, the partners also set dates for information events on MAV as well as the dates of further meetings and a final conference, which is to take place in September 2019.
Final conference in Stuttgart
The MAV final conference took place on September 27, 2019 in the town hall in Stuttgart. The participants included representatives of migrant organizations, local and regional integration officers, political decision-makers, networks for mentoring and numerous citizens who were involved in integration work on a voluntary basis. For all participants, the four MAV products were available as brochures to take away in six different languages.
The MAV project partners presented the project results. After a brief introduction to the project content and the course of MAV, a detailed presentation of the MAV learning platform followed. First, the MAV online course for trainers in adult education and integration work was presented, followed by a presentation of the MAV course for immigrants. All guests had the opportunity to register for the platform and to gain initial experience with the products even during the presentations.
The multilingualism of all products, the ease of use and the possibility of determining the speed of learning yourself were positively emphasized. The MAV learning platform is based on a Moodle platform and offers all options known from Moodle. All course modules can also be used with smartphones, tablets and other devices. Their design was kept simple in order to keep loading times short and to avoid overloading the display on smaller devices. The MAV platform offers a forum for the exchange of learners with each other as well as options for questions and comments. The learning content relates to the basics of mentoring, but also deals with aspects of intercultural learning, dialogue between cultures and forms of civic engagement.
All MAV teaching and learning materials are available free of charge as Creative Commons. They are available on the MAV website and on the Erasmus+ platform for project results.
Output / results
1. OER Guide for trainers to motivate adult migrant volunteers supporting migration
2. Design of the MAV adult learning toolkit
3. OER MAV adult learning course ìVolunteers in migrantsí integration”
4. OER MAV Communications toolkit
Contact in Germany
ifa Akademie gGmbH
Tel.: +49 711 2225 265
Contact persons are Martin Kilgus and Jelena Nitsch.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Grant Agreement No. 2017-1-DE02-KA204-004284