We are extremely happy to share the result of 2 years’ hard work! On 5 June 2022 we launched a Training Kit designed to support the empowerment of refugee-led groups. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the Training Kit on Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations wants to strengthen refugee protection by elevating refugee-led groups from ‘beneficiaries’ to active and equal advocacy partners.
We designed a training package that is user-friendly, adaptable to different national contexts and targeting both information and skills needs.
The Training Kit is actually two products. One intended for refugees wishing to be national advocates and the other for those organisations targeting EU-level advocacy.
In April, our Legal Officer, participated in a training on case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with relevance for asylum law. This was organised by the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Strasbourg.
The training provided in depth knowledge on the ECHR approach in asylum cases. Experienced speakers presented the Court’s approach in non-refoulement cases, detention cases, interim measures and the right to family life. The participants could visit the Court and meet the very experienced lawyers working there.
The seminar was attended by lawyers in private practice, judges, European and national civil servants and other legal practitioners dealing with asylum law.
Malta starting receiving significant numbers of refugees in the mid-90’s. However, it was not until 2001 and 2002 that large numbers started arriving by boat from North Africa, Libya in particular. Most of those arriving in Malta through this route were from Sub-Saharan Africa, however in recent years Syrians and Libyans make up the largest groups in terms of arrivals.
The Erasmus+ project ‘Training Kit for Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations’ aims at addressing the challenges faced by refugee-led organisations. It seeks to equip them with relevant information and skills. Our training kit will support them in order for them to reach a significant level of impact and influence at EU and national levels.
How? By providing training on communication strategies, administrative requirements, advocacy skills, legal information, networking, etc. The training kit will be available to the public and thoroughly disseminated throughout the Partners’ networks.
The aim of this project is to witness a dramatic improvement in the enjoyment of human rights by refugees. The project focuses on the idea of supporting the active inclusion of marginalised, vulnerable or excluded communities. We hope to support those refugees who want to play an more active role in their communities and at the EU level.
Through the project, we will firstly identify the communities’ needs, strengths and trends. We will then produce an educational package that will tackle these challenges and provide improved skills to overcome them.
We were very excited to conduct project interviews! As part of this project, we had the opportunity to interview various partners established in Malta. These included refugee-led and non-refugee led organisations.
Taking into account the background, singularities, cultures and languages of the interviewees, we had to know how to formulate questions that can resonate with each of them. We asked non-refugee-led organisations about their perceptions of refugee-led organisations, their value or what skills they might lack to have greater impact. Whereas we interviewed refugee-led organisations about their organisations, inviting them to share the different challenges they face or what skills might be beneficial for them to acquire.
As for refugee-led organisations we had the chance to set up one-on-one interviews. We interviewed Spark15, Libico and the Syrian, Ivorian, Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese Communities. Interestingly, the same points as with non-refugee-led organisations were raised. The difficulty to get involved in the organisation when the members struggle to find a reliable job was highlighted. In addition, the interviewees noted the lack of integration and the bureaucracy.
Conducting these interviews turned out to be a very instructive experience. It is interesting to see how organisations with very different backgrounds have shared similar challenges and fears, and how they try to overcome these obstacles through resilience and partnership.
We learnt how these organisations still cope in making their organisation succeed despite the continuous challenges they face.
Although each organization has its unique goals and intentions, they all agreed on one common goal: to make sure every migrant, asylum-seeker and refugee in Malta are well treated, educated and granted the rights they are entitled to.
In many ways, we have personally benefited from taking part in this project. We learnt how to conduct interviews with people from different backgrounds, with different cultures, languages and ideas. We gained significant knowledge from their input and from the various and interesting experiences that they spoke to us about and thus challenged our own impressions and ideas.
More generally, when interviewing these organisations, one can see how certain things can appear as details for some and indeed constitute a great deal of challenges for others.
It was very encouraging to see how the refugee led organisations we interviewed were built from the ground up and have achieved so much already!
We are extremely excited to launch a new initiative that will see us supporting refugee-led organisations. Together with partners in Malta, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Italy we will be looking at the challenges faced by refugee-led groups in becoming active advocates for refugee rights. On the basis of our research and consultations we will then design a training kit intended to strengthen their capacity to advocate at the national and EU levels.
Refugee-led community organisations (RCOs) play a crucial role within society and ample research has highlighted this. RCOs provide a bridge support to newly-arrived refugees. They facilitate swifter integration by offering basic information on procedures and daily life, provide language and cultural orientation training, support refugees wishing to contribute to lost societies and, generally, assist in the normalisation process of making a host community become home.