The Italian ARU is a Competence Cell which functions under the Higher Education and Research Unit of CESIE as a knowledge-community at local level offering targeted and tailored services based on the specific needs of stakeholders and related target groups. Considering deeply rooted systemic barriers and the present historical political instability in Italy that might preclude stakeholders’ active involvement, RAISD represents a great opportunity for the Italian ARU / the Competence Cell and its impact network to continue the work on migration and specific Vulnerability Contexts. The Cell uses community and bottom-up initiatives, creating a trans-disciplinary network of practitioners to support local infrastructures and contribute to community building, capacity building and awareness raising. Indeed, the Competence Cell takes advantage of a multitude of local partners that contribute to project implementation at different levels, and emerge competences of the staff members of six Units (Higher Education and Research Unit, Right and Justice, Adult, Migration, School and Youth).
The Italian TAIS focuses on forcibly displaced women, and it aims at providing them with online learning tools. The central idea behind the strategy is to personalise online learning through ALL you can LEARN” (AUCL), based on which vulnerable women can have control over their own learning process. The ultimate aim is to increase beneficiaries’ decision-making capacity – Forcibly Displaced Women living and/or exposed to highly vulnerable situations and conditions – and to have direct influence over their learning path’s contents and modalities according to a set of individual variables (interests and aspirations, level of studies and previously attended programmes, logistics and time availability, etc.) by using online Learning Objectives MENU Tool (Digitalised Admix Selection Interface) infrastructure at https://allyoucanlearn.cesie.org/learn.
Italian ARU: The Competence Cell, participation and resilience
The strength of the Competence Cell relies on a smooth involvement of stakeholders. The systematic stakeholder involvement process has started already in 2017 (with the H2020 FoTRRIS project “Fostering a Transition towards Responsible Research and Innovation Systems”) and continued within RAISD. As the Competence Cell body was officially established in April 2018, a wide network of stakeholders and target groups were already involved in several local and international activities of CESIE and were naturally engaged in RAISD, letting the working group naturally progress on the implementation of the Action Research Strategy. This has been possible due to the building of trustworthy relationships and successful collaborations that CESIE was able to put in place over many years of cooperation with identified stakeholders. Moreover, a number of stakeholders have been involved in the Italian ARU thanks to their involvement in other CESIE’s activities, reinforcing the inclusion mechanism of the network. As an example, external stakeholders involved in the RAISD fieldwork activities have been selected with the support of CESIE’s Migration Unit. Also actors of institutional, academic and societal impact are contributing to the work of the Competence Cell, such as psychological and health support services, hosting community and migrants’ associations, representatives of civil society.
Positive and innovative factors of the ARU working
During the first COVID-19 lockdown period, there was a forced increase of distance learning methods and approaches, that found professionals in education unprepared in the delivery modes and knowledge multiplication – therefore, a specific request was to establish also a Resource Database for this secondary target group. The RAISD Resource Database for professionals in education was created, addressing the need for inclusive learning environments with special attention to distinctively Vulnerable Groups among the Forcibly Displaced and migrant communities in Europe. The learning materials aimed to support creative skills in education for youth, adults, vocational education and training, school communities as well as in Higher Education, providing guidance, training and teaching material with a focus on different methodologies tailored to specific target group segments and contexts of vulnerability. The Italian ARU and Community of Users can register to comment and rate all current 161 educational resources. Registered users can propose new material to be uploaded to the online database. To know more about this innovative approach please consult: https://allyoucanlearn.cesie.org/teach/.
“Your main strength is your capacity to break down the cultural and language barriers”
The first testimony of the Italian ARU comes from Mr. Giuseppe Spinelli, an educator of the Freedom centre, a centre working with trafficked women. CESIE partnered with the “Cooperativa Nuova Generazione, Freedom centre” in the nearby town of Trabia (20 km distance from Palermo) to implement the TAIS, contributing to the integration and inclusion of the vulnerable women arriving to the centre by arranging training sessions with and for them. Point of strength of the Italian ARU has been working on the territory and collaborating with different stakeholders, putting in place a network of operators from different fields to achieve the highest impact on the beneficiaries. Giuseppe highlights in his testimony the great enthusiasm and satisfaction of the young women for the opportunity offered by CESIE, and the participation in the training session was indeed massive. Among the main strengths of the TAIS and the work of the ARU, he noticed the capacity to break down the cultural and language barriers, and the ability of making the training highly interactive, engaging the participating women not only in the learning as such but also involving them emotionally, paying attention to their feelings during the process.
“Your training was able to answer to their questions, about independence, about work, about the future, and to inspire their curiosity”
The second testimonial of the Italian ARU is Ms. Luigia Sunseri, one of the educators of the Freedom centre. During her interview, she immediately highlighted the importance of having the training delivered directly by CESIE at the centre. That was a key element for the girls hosted in the centre, increasing their feelings of confidence, security, protection and wellbeing. Noteworthy was the great capacity on behalf of the CESIE to involve the young women in the training, raising their curiosity and providing them with support in their path to the future. The hands-on part of the training was essential to match wishes and expectations with actual possibilities and competences. The initiative jointly delivered by CESIE and the Freedom centre was indeed a success for the inclusion and integration of the women, also looking at the long-term perspective it may open for them, towards a new independent space for their own lives. At the very end of her intervention, Luigia stressed the constructive and fruitful collaboration put in place with CESIE, that the centre welcomed very positively, and will be ready to welcome in the future as well.
“Several optional modules are offered and participants choose contents attractive for them”
Counting on the fundamental support of the mediator and the educators who work in the centres, the first two sessions of the #ALLyoucanLEARN training was delivered to women coming from Somalia and Nigeria. The Italian ARU has relied on a number of figures and actors to make sure the experience of beneficiaries was tailored and of high quality. The networking capacity of the ARU and the trust in the expertise on the field allowed for an effective and efficient working routine on behalf of the members. In turn, it resulted into an impactful TAIS. Participants to the #ALLyoucanLEARN training were easily getting familiar with the training, showing interest in the individualized learning experiences. The novelty of the ‘ALL you can LEARN’ (AucL) selective-learning approach has been the introduction of a more bottom-up and participatory practice to education, shifting from an induced training offer to a “selective” approach in developing a training, in which several optional modules are offered and participants can choose contents that are attractive for them. The pictures below narrate from a different point of view the story of the ARU: engagement (both of stakeholders and beneficiaries), impact (on the working cells as well on the vulnerable women), continuity and the crucial importance of valuable interactions.