Events are an ideal chance to foster direct dialogue and encounters between the local community and migrants, encouraging them to get to know one another and overcome stereotypes. Organisers should design attractive formats which factor in the needs and expectations of the different target groups and which find common ground between them.
In this process, it is important that both the local community and the communities of migrants are directly involved and empowered, with a systemic approach. Empowered communities will feel that they are part of the solution and offer them opportunities to take action.
Initiatives should create opportunities for migrant communities to share elements from their own culture or, if they want to, from their personal pathways while encouraging the local community to be curious and openminded.
Doing so changes the relationship between the host and the new-comer and allows migrants to feel truly at home. The empowerment process should make the most of all of the resources that the migrants have to offer. It should focus on sharing responsibility in the society in which one is living and increasing awareness of rights and duties.
From theory to practice
Build and strengthen support
Involving actively the communities can bring a strong support to your campaign, but it implies a carefully planned action. The manual WE CAN! provides some useful guidelines, including:
- identification of organisations sharing the same cause and form a network;
- use of informal events to involve citizens;
- involvement of groups with different backgrounds and competences;
- use of online collaborative tools.
Provide “Action kits”
When organising an event or a series of events, you might share a kit of materials that can be used and adapted by participants, both before or during the event, or to create new events, taking action in their own community. This creates a sense of belonging and co-creation. These might include: printable posters, leaflets and stickers; list of messages and slogans to be used during the events; merchandising (pins, bags, etc.).