The InCommon Toolbox project (2018-2020) implemented an individualized guidance pathway for 468 migrant women, TCNs, and refugees for the exercise of citizenship through participation in culture of the host community.
This was carried out in a four stage process conceptually supported at 3 levels:
1. Individual, through personal counselling and actions for empowerment and personal development of migrant women through training on Key Competences of the European Reference Framework and Leadership.
2. Professional, on the basis of the methodology of Cultural Citizenship Scale (CCS) and the InCommon Toolkit, both outcomes of the project.
3. Community, with the creation of a local stakeholder’s network and the organisation of interventions at local level that enabled the interaction of the network and the active citizenship of migrant women through the cultural and educative resources of the host community.
The four stages of the project match with the main objectives that were fully achieved during the InCommon life time:
The first stage “SHARE”
It consisted on the methodological foundation layer of the project. The objective was to detect the barriers for the effective integration and participation on cultural life of migrant women into the host society through a comparative analysis.
It involved the intellectual results based on the CCS methodology, the compilation of good practices, and the research on barriers faced by migrant women to their integration in the host community.
The result is 3 methodological documents, in the project languages, available as an open resource on the project website and in the toolkit:
1. Set of 40 Good practices on social integration and civic participation of migrant women at European level.
2. Working paper presenting results of the European research to remove barriers for the exercise of cultural citizenship of third national women.
3. Cultural Citizenship Scale. Active citizenship for participation in cultural life
Second stage “ENGAGE”
In parallel, the second stage started with the involvement of the three key actors for the successful realization of the project: migrant women and refugees, volunteers and stakeholders.
In this stage, a huge dissemination and recruitment effort was made that resulted in activities of:
• Dissemination such as the creation of the project website and social networks, dissemination material and brochures.
• Information about the project through mailing lists and distribution of brochures, holding events for migrant women and volunteers.
• As well as assessment and training: assessment of migrant women, production of training materials and delivery of workshops in interculturality for volunteers, and creation of the stakeholder’s network and the close collaboration with them.
The main objective was to involve main key actors and provide a structure that helped to improve the cultural participation and social inclusion of migrant women in the host society through 4 local networks, one in each project country. The stakeholder’s network was made up by a total of 59 stakeholders plus volunteers and migrant women. Networking, along the project, supported bonding between women themselves, empowered them individually and provided the self confidence to interact with local resources. On the other side project stakeholders showed an open approach for integration and 159 volunteers received a training on interculturality that helped them to enhance their service.
In addition to the production of dissemination materials (a total of 8.000 brochures targeted to migrant women, volunteers and stakeholders), the final figures include the holding of 10 local events for volunteers and 10 for migrant women with the participation of 159 volunteers and 168 women (more than 35% of what was initially planned). As early mentioned, 468 migrant women were interviewed in depth, assessed and counsel.
The third stage, “START UP”
It involved the launch of the training work with the migrant women.
The partners elaborated the curriculum and training material on Key Competences 4, 5, 6, and 8 (digital, social and civic, learning to learn, cultural awareness and expression) and leadership, in addition to the design of the courses to be delivered in each project country.
As a result of the initial assessment, the number of groups, hours of training and type of courses were adapted to the actual needs, as well as the methods for adult training that include more group assignments outside class and hands on work. A total of 27 courses were held, attended by 580 migrant women during 845 hours of face-to-face training.
Stage 4, “INTERACT”
The different research and training outcomes are part of the project toolkit that is a substantial part of stage 4. The main objective was to foster the empowerment of migrant women and cross cultural dialogue through a platform that collects all the materials produced in the project and stores the InCommon toolkit.
In this stage, the toolkit begun to be build, made by the publications, materials and resources developed so far. In addition, partners elaborated the Beta version of the toolkit and tested the InCommon methodology. For this end, the participants in the programme, together with volunteers and stakeholders, worked on the implementation of small activities and projects that arise from the joint work previously carried out. All coordinated and supported by partners.
These cultural interventions could be inspired by good practices of the project or be new but always arise from the women themselves and be led by them, according to their possibilities. The result was the realization of 40 local interventions that cover the 4 levels of the CCS. The evaluation has been very positive as ties of trust and support were created among women for activities outside the project, they also became aware of their capacities and reinforced their confidence to start activities on their own. On another level, they approached fields such as contemporary art or opera from their own roots, which helped them to understand it, and they learned about the nearby cultural resources at her disposal. Similarly, the stakeholders assessed the work with women very positively.
On the other hand, 4 virtual events were also carried out, in the form of contests, to promote the participation of women between the different countries and give a boost to the creation of ties between the countries participating in the project.
The events consisted on a video song contest “My culture, my voice”, a story telling contest “A story to be heard” and two digital photography contest “My favourite place in my new city” and “Celebration”. The contests were promoted through the project groups in each project country and through social networks (Facebook and YouTube). A total of 311 pieces registered, in individual and group categories, which involved the direct participation of 383 participants plus approximately 600 among collaborators and followers.
The InCommon Toolbox Transferability Toolkit
Both the local interventions and the virtual events are living testimonies of the implementation of the InCommon methodology and are part of the InCommon Toolbox Transferability Toolkit. This is the final outcome of the entire project.
The objective was to ensure the transfer to other European countries and target groups of the CCS methodology through the systematisation of the whole process in a toolbox. This toolbox provides mentors, cultural mediators, social workers, and all those who are responsible for integration of third-country nationals a web-tool that includes the methodology and a fully explained itinerary to allow transference and replicability of the InCommon model. It contains:
• Initial information about the toolkit and how to implement it.
• Methodology of Cultural Citizenship Scale.
• Tools, methods and tips for the implementation of each step of the integration itinerary.
• Living testimonies and real examples of the implementation.
• Guidelines for removing barriers for participation in the cultural life of the target group.
• Training material on fostering KC 4,5,6,8 and leadership for migrant women.
• Training on intercultural dialogue and participatory methods for volunteers.
• Possibility of registration for future sharing of InCommon experiences by other practitioners.
At this point, the final tool has been shaped in the form of a web-tool and a huge dissemination effort has been made to make it known. The aim was to offer a transferable tool for the integration through the exercise of cultural citizenship, adaptable to different groups and different types of organisations.
The dissemination included the production of 500 brochures in the different languages of the project explaining how toolkit works and a 34-page manual in which the project’s methodology is fully explained and more detailed information is given on the different sections of the toolkit.
INTERNATIONAL FINAL CONFERENCE
InCommon project had to deal with COVID-19: instead an International face to face conference as closure of the project, the InCommon partnership had to reorganise the event in a virtual format. This virtual conference was intended as a double event consisted on a Zoom webinar at EU level and National Workshops, one in each project country. The aim was to inform and disseminate about the project, results and findings in the webinar, and provide a practical view on the InCommon methodology and toolkit through the National Workshops.
The webinar was also broadcast on Facebook live and a full record of the session is available on YouTube. Cyprus and Spain workshops are also available on YouTube. Participation exceeded the expectations of the originally planned face to face conference (60 participants): the total number of viewers was 196 and 93 attended the national workshops.
After the conference and national workshops, dissemination still went on through mailing lists inviting recipients to visit the toolkit, the recordings of the webinars and offering short workshops to organisations on InCommon Toolbox methodology implementation.
And finally a THANKS to ALL
This project has successfully reached its goals with the engagement and collaboration of the key actors of the project:
Migrant women and refugees from Austria, Cyprus, Greece and Spain, from different nationalities and situations that show the diverse and multicultural kaleidoscope of European citizenship.
Beneficiaries from AUSTRIA came mainly from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, India, Congo, Somalia, Egypt, China, Morocco, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Brazil. The common factor for almost all the migrant women is the challenge of learning German and finding sufficient financial means for actively participating in the cultural offerings. The volunteers’ network played a key role as intercultural mediators and mentored many cultural exchanges.
The target group in CYPRUS included mainly women from Philippines and some women from Zimbabwe who have migrated to Cyprus for work purposes. The group was mixed and consisted of women who have recently arrived to Cyprus as well as women who have been in Cyprus for some years. Women were reached through their group.
GREECE involved newly arrived refugee women that have recently came to the country and relocated to the region. This is a very specific group of women that have been through trauma in their very recent past and they were trying to accept their new forced reality.
The target group in SPAIN was mainly made up by women from Latin America and other Eastern countries such as Russia, Moldova and Ukraine. The majority were newcomers and arrived to InCommon project through organisations responsible for the first reception of migrants and other projects that offer Spanish language courses for migrants.
Municipality services, social volunteers, mentors, cultural mediators, social workers, adult trainers, art centres, museums, public libraries and local food markets that had also take part on the implementation of the project in the project countries.
The InCommon project consortium would like to thank all for their participation and commitment. The experience would not have been possible without them.