Women and adolescent clubs

Practice Aim

To monitor specific needs (and vulnerabilities) and to inform adolescents and women about services available for them (at other service providers).

Target Groups

Women / adolescents.

Identification of stakeholders that made an identification of the practice

Márton Bisztrai + Vivien Vadasi, Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants

Criteria actors or stakeholder are using to assess them as a “good practice”

Group meetings and programmes for specific groups in order to foster integration

Name and leading organization (contact details provided)

Menedék – Hungarian Association for Migrants

Target VG and type of host community

Women / adolescents in Budapest (hub: District VIII)

Application setting

Menedék offers special community programmes in order to foster the acquaintance of adolescents and women with migrant background with Hungarian customs and language, via joint activities.


One of the objectives of these free sessions is to monitor specific needs (and vulnerabilities) and to inform adolescents and women about services available for them (at other service providers).


Continuous (ongoing for 2+ years)

Requirements/ accessibility issues

These “clubs” are “exclusive” in a sense that the women’s club is only for women, which opens the possibility for a safer, more trustful ambiance, while the adolescents’ club is only for adolescents; therefore, it is more appropriate for age-specific activities.

Performance procedures


Difficulties or constrains for its implementation

Role of the family (either encouraging or discouraging)




For more information see https://menedek.hu/mit-csinalunk/szocialis-munka (in Hungarian)

1. Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context (analysis of the need for such an initiative in its specific context, support from the leading institution to such initiative, partnerships, target groups: please list and describe the target population, support of local / national / international , financing…)
There was a need for integration with the women coming from other countries. They did not know the city of Budapest very well, and this club helps them learn more about it in all aspects. Also, having a club with only women allows a more comfortable environment and helps the women feel more at home in terms of their cultures. The youth club was needed because this specific age group was not being targeted according to their needs. There are integration related issues that were not being tackled properly for this group, and group activity was considered the best tool to address these issues. The youth felt overloaded by long working hours and studies, isolated from their own age group, and didn’t really know how to relax, where to go, or what to do. This is an opportunity for everyone to have fun together and indirectly learn new things. The leading institution is Menedék and as of now there are no other partners involved, but this could change in the future. These clubs are funded by the UNHCR. Also, Menedék is trying to cooperate with other organizations and volunteers for the women’s club and coordinating fundraising campaigns for the youth club. The target population of the women’s club is migrant women, and for the youth club it is migrants between the ages of 18-30.
2. Visibility of the action (What are the means of communication used? Are they effective? If so, why and how are communication objectives achieved? What are the objectives? If not, explain!)
The main way of communicating with the women is through the Viber app in a group chat so the events and activities can be communicated to everyone at once. Menedék works with its intercultural mediators to communicate with the women as well. The group is effective in giving and receiving information, especially because the app can be used in any language. The main objective is getting people to come to club meetings and activities. At first it was difficult to get people to come; for years the women would have to be reminded every week to attend the next meeting, but the club is finally at a point where the members are excited every week and no longer need reminders. They also do their own outreach with their personal networks to expand the group. For the youth group, many different communication tools were used: email, Facebook, WhatsApp, phone calls, SMS. It wasn’t very effective when all tools were being used, but now it is limited to email and one active Facebook group so it is easier to communicate and more effective. There are three main communication objectives. The first is practical–organizing events, inviting people, and sharing information. The second objective is assessment, asking what people’s needs are and what they would like to see or do in the future. The last one is engaging with the members on an individual level. The group events double as a monitoring platform if people aren’t willing or comfortable enough to talk to the club leaders about their issues. If a need is identified, they are invited to the office for a consultation.
3. Transferability (How the model can be implemented by other institutions / other countries?)
A lot of other European countries have women’s clubs as well. Everyone can learn from each other through information exchanges during conferences and workshops in other countries. It does not have to be implemented the same way; it can always be modified to fit each country/organization’s needs. For example, in Greece there are many people in camps waiting for decisions and for them having a club like this is a good way to spend their time in a useful way. Here, there are not many people waiting in camps anymore and those that are cannot be reached. It is more important in Hungary for the migrants to be able to stand on their own feed and learn practical skills like language, how to use public transportation, how to find things on the Internet, and how to write. Although countries have different situations in regards to the migrant population, a group for women to spend time together is something that is always needed. There is nothing unique about the model for the Youth Club either. It has been implemented in many other organizations across Europe. If anything, it is possible that Menedék has more specific goals than a typical youth group. The main purpose of the club is recreation and learning opportunities, but also to use it as a monitoring surface to invite people into the individual case management system.
4. Sustainability (If the initiative or initial project has already finalized, how continuity is ensured beyond the initial life of the project? If the initiative or project is still ongoing, what will be the developments in the coming years? what are the mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of the initiative beyond its expected life )
A long term plan to ensure sustainability of the Women’s Club is creating products out of reused materials and then selling them to support upcoming projects. This plan is now at the beginning stages–until now, there was no stable group but now one exists where they feel comfortable on their own and new ideas are coming through. In addition to selling products, other ideas to ensure continuity include involving locals in activities with the migrant community such as cooking specialty dishes to share with them. Having people that volunteer their time to teach yoga and Hungarian to the immigrants for free makes the plans more viable also. One of the key components of sustainability of the Youth Club is the use of fundraising campaigns. Another way to ensure continuity is that if the club turns into more of a community and people start getting together outside of organized group activities. Also, engaging more with the local Hungarian community will help. Lastly, it is important to have a core team in place that will attend all the events, and around them is another circle of people who can jump in for a few events. This is necessary because even the people in the core team probably will not be there after a year.
5. Innovative character (Describe briefly the factors favoring the success of the initiative and the innovations introduced by the initiative)
A factor that favours the success of the Women’s Club is that the women do not need to be reminded about programs and are excited to attend every week. They feel safe in the club, and free from everyday life. An innovation that is introduced by this initiative is opening the club up to locals. Also, this year the club is focusing on the environment to help the members understand the importance of taking care of the planet and make them more conscious about their use of unsustainable materials like plastic. A main factor of success in the Youth Club has been flexibility in regards to planning. Every 6 months, the Youth Club organizers evaluate the last period and according to the findings, they adjust whatever is needed, even the basic goals. It is a process of learning by doing. Although this hasn’t proven to be a success yet as the evaluations haven’t been done, Menedek has also implemented a new democratic approach to the Youth Club and involved the participants as much as possible in all kinds of decision making. The budget is transparent for anyone to check, and the participants will be included in the fundraising efforts as well. From an outside perspective, there are not any major innovations, but things like the fundraising campaign are quite new for Menedék.
6. Impact (How the initiative changed or produced an impact on the targeted beneficiaries, in its context and beyond – lessons learnt)
The biggest impact that the women’s club has had on its members is the sense of independence that they now feel. Most women coming here do not know how to read or write, but the club was able to help them learn. They also learned Hungarian, which helped them find work, had tours of Budapest and learned about the culture so that they know about the place in which they are living, and even learned how to ride a bike because it is easier and cheaper than public transportation. Based on feedback, the members of the Youth Club felt the club has had a positive impact on their lives. They appreciate the information they have learned about this country and its culture, history, and society. Additionally, engaging on a personal level with those that were identified as potentially vulnerable helped prevent a risk of suicide and homelessness.
7. Ease of implementation(Optional field. Please specify how easy (or not) was to implement the initiative. Please identify the factors that contributed to the smooth implementation and/or the difficulties encountered)
8. Tools and resources for implementation(Optional field. If possible, please specify, enumerate and describe the human, material and financial resources allocated to the implementation of the initiative)
9. Other/additional information (Optional field. Please share any other relevant information regarding this initiative)