Institutions and organisations providing services to immigrants are not always aware of all the vulnerability factors that shape the needs of their clients. Integration strategies and daily work are also conditioned by scarce financial and human resources, and tend to seek one-size-fits-all solutions. Therefore, a careful evaluation of possible strategies for the attention, reception, and settlement of vulnerable migrants is necessary. Efforts to adapt these strategies to specific contexts should, however, be based on up-to-date research results and a screening of existing or previously implemented good practices.
RAISD’s novel approach to the topic aims at developing Tailored Attention and Inclusion Strategies (TAIS) which define effective practices (i.e. highly scored by stakeholder criteria) for a given vulnerability context (as defined by field research). The correspondence between vulnerability contexts, implemented practices and criteria for their evaluation is ensured by a constant coordination of several consortium members. In three pilot rounds (between April 2020 and October 2021), TAIS are being designed, implemented and evaluated in seven participating countries to respond to the specific needs of one of the vulnerable groups (VGs) detected after carrying out interviews with vulnerable individuals and working with stakeholders in the framework of the Action Research Units (ARU).
The TAIS relies on evidence gathered through interviews with Forcibly Displaced People (FDPs), stakeholder interviews, ARU meetings, analysis of previous good practices, and desktop research.
National teams (Finland, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Turkey) including consortium member partners and stakeholders (organizations, specialists, activists, civil society, etc.) of the ARU develop the TAIS as pilot activities. Social innovation is a key concept for setting the outlines of stakeholder involvement.
The TAIS is designed in each country by the respective RAISD consortium member institution. Their work is coordinated by three project members. Methodology issues are supervised by the project’s lead partner, the Complutense University of Madrid. The implementation is coordinated by Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants. The evaluation is carried out by the University of Helsinki.
In the following, the TAIS of each participant country and institution is presented.
In Spain, the TAIS consists of a training and counselling program for forcibly displaced Sub-Saharan women, providing them with the necessary skills for starting their own business, either individually or collectively.
Refuge of power: Sub-Saharan women’s entrepreneurship and coaching program
After conducting interviews with experts and vulnerable people among the forcibly displaced, as well as organizing 7 meetings with 36 different organisations representing the quintuple helix of RRI, we decided that one of the most vulnerable groups in Spain was the one formed by Sub-Saharan women, and that employability was among their main difficulties. Therefore, the Spanish ARU decided to co-design the following TAIS: Refuge of power: Sub-Saharan women’s entrepreneurship and coaching program.
The aim of the TAIS is to develop competences to promote the socioeconomic inclusion of sub-Saharan refugee women or applicants for international protection in Spain as well as fostering the beneficiaries’ self-reliance, autonomy and general level of work market competence.
The program focuses on different skills and capacities (digital, emotional, communication, leadership, management and entrepreneurship) that have been selected to form part of the program, then validated by ARU members and some potential beneficiaries in the consultation processes. These skills also stand out for having a high value for the job market, and the professional and personal development of the beneficiaries.
The Spanish TAIS translates into a very flexible social intervention process, highly adaptable to the needs and demands of the participants and the Covid19 context. The target women have been highly engaged and form an active group in the design, development, and evaluation of the practices.
The TAIS is a training and support process with a twofold course of action:
- In terms of entrepreneurship, so that the beneficiaries are trained to be able to create a collective productive project (cooperative).
- Strengthening of abilities and competences, preparing the beneficiaries for greater employability and supporting their professional growth.
The group of final beneficiaries is heterogeneous in terms of age, family situation, education, digital skills, work, and personal experiences.
Different organisations and experts have participated in the program. Among them, we must highlight the key role of Nantik Lum (https://nantiklum.org/?lang=en) and PAZ.AI (https://www.paz.ai/) and well as the highly engaged social worker.
The Italian TAIS focuses on forcibly displaced women, and it aims at providing them with online learning tools. The central idea behind the TAIS is to personalise online learning through “Digitalised Personal Pathways” (DPP), based on which FDPs can have control over their own learning process.
ALL YOU CAN LEARN: Inclusion à la carte
The Italian TAIS counteracts the still current tendency for national educational change policymakers and planners to ignore human factors; training providers too often assume to know and understand FDPs’ learning needs, thrusting learners into one-size-fits-all solutions while ignoring those individual factors and circumstances (pre-migration, in-transit, at-arrival) that strongly affect educational achievements. In Italy, this reflects in a high number of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) among FDP, consistent training dropout rates and lower female participation.
The design of the selective-learning TAIS, a tool/methodology developed by CESIE in the frame of RAISD, i.e. the training opportunity “ALL you can LEARN” (AUCL), proposes a participatory practice in education, shifting from an “induced” training offer approach (i.e. a dominating and top-down way to organise education for FDPs) to a “selective” approach aimed at developing a training offer in which several optional modules are offered so that participants can choose contents that are attractive for them.
The ultimate aim was to increase learners’ decision-making capacity as they are to be intended as “co-experts” of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) based inclusion strategy, thus having the opportunity to decide and co-design their learning experience according to a set of individual variables (interests and aspirations, level of studies and previously attended programmes, language knowledge, logistics and time availability, etc.).
Expected results of the Italian TAIS included the increased highly vulnerable and forcibly displaced female participation in Education and Training; decreased initial resistance and attendance reluctance; reduced in-training dropout rates among FDP women. In order to achieve these goals, the excessive strictness of learning paths and hours of commitment were avoided and replaced by a flexible learning environment.
The actual piloting of “ALL you can LEARN” involved Forcibly Displaced Women living and/or exposed to highly vulnerable situations and conditions, victims of human trafficking currently living in Sicily, originally from Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Comoros and Tunisia. The training experience was implemented over 16 sessions/40 hours in summer 2021, covering orientation sessions (understanding learning objectives to be achieved); actual face-to-face training sessions, based on twenty learning objectives selected by each participant; local study visits as an opportunity for debate, exchange and mutual learning and final evaluation and capitalization sessions.
In Finland, the TAIS is designed in the form of two parallel pilot activities that target asylum seekers who are in a vulnerable situation. One target group is young men with no social connections, who will receive online peer support. The other target group is single parents with small children, who will be provided with new forms of childcare services in reception centres.
(1) Multilingual online forum
Young asylum-seeking men are rarely considered as suffering from vulnerabilities even though they constitute a highly discriminated group in Finland and few services are targeted for them. Many men lack the opportunities to use and learn everyday language with Finnish-speaking peers while most of the contacts they have with Finnish-speakers are reception center professionals and elderly women since they tend to volunteer through NGOs. Particularly in smaller towns and rural areas there are few possibilities in contacting Finnish-speaking peers. Moreover, according to several asylum seeker interviews, the language tuition within the reception centers is not enough, is restricted to classrooms and is too repetitive due to constantly changing teachers and learners and the huge diversity of educational backgrounds different asylum seekers have.
To respond to the above problems, a voluntary group of young asylum-seeking men were invited to join, together with Finnish-speaking voluntary young men, in an online thread to discuss the experiences of asylum seekers and everyday life in the Finnish society. The aim was to promote the learning of both asylum seekers and voluntaries. The former group will learn the language, Finnish culture from the perspective of ordinary men and may find more information about various possibilities Finland. As for the latter group, voluntary men are able to have a first-hand knowledge about the lives of asylum seekers in Finland and about their home countries. Further, both groups will develop their skills in online communications.
The online discussions were moderated and, when necessary, translated from languages used by asylum seekers into Finnish. At least one asylum seeking peer moderator was recruited during the second and third piloting rounds to instigate discussions and, when necessary, to help in translating the messages. Each forum lasted approximately five weeks.
(2) Development of child‐care services in Finnish reception centres
TAIS aimed to develop child-care services in reception centres in Finland. Currently, asylum-seeking families do not have the right to early childhood education in municipal day‐care centres before the pre-school at the age of six. Moreover, reception centres are not obligated to provide child-care and the level of child-care services provided varies significantly between different reception centres. Lack of child-care services has repercussions on both parental and child wellbeing: parents are not able to focus on their own wellbeing and settlement and their children are segregated from Finnish speaking peers and miss structured activities supporting their learning and development.
To promote the wellbeing of asylum-seeking families with small children, child-care activities were developed together with the Finnish Red Cross (FRC) reception centres. The general state of child-care services in FRC reception centres was surveyed and two reception centres providing comparatively wide-ranging child-care services were involved to develop their activities further. Child-care activities of the two centres were observed and parents and professionals involved were interviewed. The knowledge acquired was used to qualitatively improve the content of the child-care activities. Moreover, a trial of more intensive child-care activities was carried out in one reception centre. The service hours were increased for a period of nine weeks and families were provided lifts to ease the use of the services.
As a result, a model for child-care services for reception centres will be established to be used for all reception centres throughout Finland. Moreover, the knowledge collected in the TAIS will be used to argue the importance of asylum-seeking children’s access to municipal early childhood education and care services.
In Hungary, the objective of the TAIS is to enhance refugees’ embeddedness in social structures. Social workers and service providers analyse individual cases in order to build a “Trajectory monitoring toolbox” of helpful and tailored interventions for vulnerable refugees.
Trajectory monitoring toolbox for social workers working with refugees
In Hungary, the objective of the TAIS is to enhance refugees’ embeddedness in social structures. Social workers and service providers analysed individual cases in order to build a “Trajectory monitoring toolbox” of helpful and tailored interventions for vulnerable refugees.
The toolbox was built around evidence-based “vulnerability profiles” and the description of the trajectories that these typical cases should follow in the institutional field to prevent the accumulation of vulnerabilities and reduce the isolation of vulnerable individuals. Social workers and service providers in Hungary should be informed about who, where, and how to apply helpful and tailored interventions for vulnerable refugees.
The toolbox has the primary objective to recognise and assess a context of vulnerability. Also, institutions and organisations can improve their internal workflow, as well as for inter-institutional cooperation, to make trajectories less demanding and vulnerability reduction more effective.
The toolbox contains two major elements:
- We transferred the research results of vulnerability contexts into training exercises, offering a practical task collection that processes the vulnerability of refugees living in Hungary along with current, real-life situations.
- Self-reflection tool. To address the lack of self-reflection in the daily practices of service providers, we built a new pilot program involving the social workers, and ARUs to develop a methodological system for self-reflection. From this, a tool evolved based on the results of the project.
The development of the TAIS was a research-based interdependent process in which the core team adjusted the initial hypotheses to address and respond to the aspects that evolved over the piloting phase. It was a dynamic method that required the constant involvement and feedback of the beneficiaries and ARU members.
The TAIS in Turkey focuses on the monitoring of the social integration of vulnerable forcibly displaced people. A series of workshops creates capacities and awareness for various stakeholders.
Accessing and Participating in Basic Daily life Practices Through Monitoring
The Turkish TAIS aims to develop capacity to help the service providers to monitor service quality on the specific needs and challenges (especially regarding the challenges being experienced while accessing the daily life practices) of forcibly displaced women and girls. This TAIS will be implemented in 2 main stages: assessment of service providers working with vulnerable groups on behalf of the government and assessment of capacity of service providers to monitor service quality on the specific needs and challenges. Firstly, service providers should have knowledge about the need-based approach, rights-based approach and advocacy issues when working with vulnerable groups. In this context, inclusion, diversity and monitoring trainings will be provided to service providers. The aim of the trainings is to provide basic information to service providers on inclusion, diversity and monitoring issues and to measure their knowledge, skills and attitudes in these matters. Pre-test and post-test method will be used to measure the impact of each training.
The second stage is the assessment of capacity of service providers to monitor service quality on the specific needs and challenges. In this regard, three types of data collecting method will be used during monitoring:
Discovery/open ended questions: As discussed during our ARU meetings, most refugees are not aware of their rights. With open-ended questions, it is aimed to find out what refugees are aware of and what they need in terms of their rights.
Structured questions: At this stage, there will be structured questions about their access to health services and rights mechanisms etc.
Environmental scanning: Considering cultural differences, especially women and girls may have problems expressing themselves on personal issues. Especially, it can be difficult for refugee women to communicate on issues such as violence, sexual violence and abuse. At this stage, the environment in which refugees live, their relations with their environment, and the non-verbal communication they use can provide data about them. For this reason, the people who will perform the monitoring must have the ability to observe and make sense of the environment in which refugees live. Environmental scanning training will be provided during the monitoring training, and the data obtained through environmental scanning will be evaluated in the output of the monitoring phase.
The TAIS in Jordan aims at providing psychosocial support for refugees, together with online trainings about financial, legal and health awareness on a special online portal that help forcibly displaced people to participate in an interactive exchange of knowledge.
Psychosocial Refugee Support Forum (PRSF)
The Jordan TAIS, Psychosocial Refugee Support Forum (PRSF), has been developed to spread awareness about asylum seekers psychological and social support, reflects the social responsibility for supporting the needs of asylum seekers in terms of mental health and psychological aid. The main goal of this program is to enable asylum seekers to be self-reliant, independent, and with a little or no need for external support. To achieve such goal, asylum seekers must convert their negative experiences into a motivation that support their future life. Early identification of psychological distress and trauma, and effective care is essential in discovering the strengths that asylum seekers could rely-on to face their daily challenges and benefit from existing opportunities.
PRSF has been designed to deliver various services that contribute to minimize the effects of psychological and social challenges. These services include psychological services, social support, family services, healthcare access, economic support, and legislative support. They would contribute to improve the asylum seekers’ lifestyle and enable them to integrate in the host community.
Treating mental illness for vulnerable displaced persons is not always easy. In most cases, the patient is bored of frequent visits to the mental clinic. So, the need to provide psychological support via the Internet to help with treatment without shame or exorbitant costs for each session. Moreover, psychological treatment services are considered a stigma among refugees and the host community. In addition, there is a need to sustain these services due to their importance in the personal and community level. Therefore, many vulnerable displaced persons reject these services for fear of societal stigma. Therefore, we find that many might prefer to obtain the PSS service secretively without anyone’s knowledge or interference. Online system “Refugee Psychological Support System (RPSS) were developed to go upon these problems.
RPSS aims to provide assistance to those who need it on a psychological and social basis. Communicating electronically with psychological support providers and organizations that provide this service will assure individual safety. RPSS aims to provide protection, psychological and social support to treat disorders without the need for medical intervention
The TAIS in Lebanon promotes health awareness among Syrian refugees living in camps. The coronavirus emergency makes it necessary to combine simple awareness raising activities with a more strategic approach via trainings focusing on social and emotional wellbeing.
Health 4 SEAD “Health, Social Emotional, Academic, Development”
After conducting interviews with 5 experts and 27 vulnerable people among the forcibly displaced, representing the quintuple helix of RRI, and given the current circumstances of the pandemic of COVID-19, LIU adapted its TAIS ideas and adapted its actions to meet the current needs of vulnerable people. LIU undertook three pilot studies/ stages with pre, through and post based on the stakeholder’s outcomes. Actually, stakeholders included, though not limited to, LIU Health Committee, Policy makers, Research community, Education community, Business and Industry, and Society organization.
In Lebanon, the designed TAIS is geared at addressing social, emotional, and academic problems. The program had a positive impact on the Syrian people in camps in addition to delivering a holistic Corona Virus awareness to children, pregnant women, elderly people, malnourished people, and people who are ill or immune-compromised. RAISD team in Lebanon, through its Health committee worked to enrich all stakeholders with the coping tools needed to raise their awareness and minimize challenges and trauma they were and continue to face amidst and beyond the COVID 19 pandemic and the dire economic situation and plethora of crises in Lebanon which has had also difficult hardships visited upon Syrian refugees and vulnerable people.
The aim of the TAIS was to deliver an online awareness campaign, called Health 4 SEAD “Health, Social Emotional, Academic, Development”. H 4 SEAD geared to engage in COVID-19 awareness, prevention and treatment information campaigns through on line dissemination, but not limited to, community groups and religious leaders, telephone hotlines, flyers, posters, bulk SMS and WhatsApp messaging, radio announcements, focus group discussions, leaflets, billboards and mural drawings. broadcasted videos, brochures with instructions.
The outcome of this pilot project aimed at empowering a strong pool of NGOs and Information Focal Point networks all over Lebanon in preparing them to facilitate and support their teaching efforts of Syrian, Palestinian and displaced people in refugee camps. This was done through LIU health Committee’s active participation and sharing of practical experiences utilizing online means.
Essentially, the program centres around a plethora of different skills and capacities (digital, emotional, communication, leadership, management and English Language) that were chosen to be a constituent of the program. The aforementioned were then validated and highlighted by various ARU members and prospective beneficiaries in the consultation process. The skills were notable for being considered a high value benefit for university and place work of the vulnerable students as well as becoming coaches.