Cities taking part in this project exchange best practices and develop policy guidelines for a wider audience on the four following themes/communities of practice:
A. How to develop a strategic approach to integration, participation and interaction?
B. How to build a gender dimension into integration policies?
C. How to build pathways to employment for migrant?
D. How to design one-stop-shops as an integrated response to integration needs?
Seven participating cities which are less experienced in integration are not only developing action plans with the support of the other participating cities but are also receiving grants and support to implement a new integration scheme in their own context. In addition, eight more experienced cities will have one staff member trained as an ‘integration ambassador’ with the capacity to autonomously train other cities in integration policies beyond the lifetime of the project.
CONNECTION will have therefore a greater positive impact on the lives of migrants and locals living together in European cities than any preceding project.
METHODOLOGY AND ACTIVITIES
CITY-TO-CITY SUPPORT AND EXCHANGE FOR CHANGE
COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICES:
In CONNECTION, 14 core cities and 8 fellow cities work in clusters on each theme with other stakeholders. Through workshops, sight visits, on-the-ground training, action planning and implementation, they develop best practices in integration and overcome shared challenges. Seven of the cities use the project to implement a new integration policy that brings concrete and immediate benefits to migrants and their receiving communities. Each cluster develops practical tools for other cities toachieve the same. The mutual learning and exchange of practices is done through different activies:
- Workshops: each cluster member visits each other to see how policy initiatives are implemented, and to learn about good practices through brief presentations, site visits, worshops and peer-to-peer discussions. All visits involve EUROCITIES and one expert from our partner organisation Migration Work.
- Staff exchanges: within one community of practice, two cities are paired up to exchange in turn staff for five days. The exchange in the more experienced mentoring city is aiming to generate ideas and look into the mechanics of different policies. The second exchange in the city implementing the policy, will look at adapting the lessons learned in the community of practice to the local context.
- Work on a how-to-guides for integration policies based on agreed European standards.
- Developing a roadmap (or ‘action plan’) for seven partner cities, with the endorsement of their public administration and involving relevant local stakeholders, and implementing new policies on the ground through a ¼ million euro of EU grants.
- Integration champions trainings: CONNECTION also trains eight ‘integration champions’, city staff equipped to train others in integration best practices. These champions hold two international workshops during the project and keep the results alive once the project comes to an end.