The Europe 2020 goals for a more inclusive Europe with higher social integration and cohesion are of high priority today. The increasing societal tension, linked to the economic crisis, immigration and increasing multi-ethnicity, cuts in public services etc. are issues widely faced across Europe. In recent years, Sweden has taken in more refugees per capita than any other European country, this has impacted other EU countries by fuelling tensions and causing a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment.
It is evident that new strategies are required to empower newcomers as agents of change in their own lives and in the communities they live in. Two key strategies that are emerging as powerful education/integration tools are 1) community mediation and 2) active inclusion which means enabling every citizen, notably the most disadvantaged, to fully participate in society.
A mediator is someone who acts as an arbitrator, negotiator, conciliator, go-between, intermediary, moderator, reconciler, honest broker, and liaison advocate. MCM recognises that educating migrants and refugees in community mediation can play a substantial and positive role in changing social dynamics.
Our Migrant and refugee mediators can come from any walk of life but will be trained to act as grassroots brokers and leaders, rather than politicians. Our Migrant Community Mediators will be educated and empowered to provide their communities with a voice and through peer-to-peer mediation and education with their fellow migrants foster inclusion, diversity, equality and intercultural understanding in their new societies. As an additional benefit, the process itself is empowering for the people who take part, as they gain vital knowledge, skills and self-esteem, which are useful for their personal life.
MCM has a clear objective is a dynamic participatory adult education initiative to upskill and empower representatives of migrant communities to become agents for advancement in migrant integration and social inclusion as Migrant Community Mediators. MCM will respond to this need by pursuing the following objectives:
- IO1 Migrant Community Mediators Toolkit will introduce the concept of migrant community mediation to stakeholders its ability to transform/integrate local migrant communities.
- The ultimate goal of IO2 Migrant Community Mediators Alliances is the active inclusion of migrants to fully participate in their new societies in Sweden, France, Ireland and the Netherlands with tangible actions arising.
- IO3 Migrant Community Mediators Open Education Resources for Adult Education Providers will encourage teachers and community educators to use a systematic approach and integrate migrant community mediation education into their organization’s activities and the training currently offered to migrant groups.
- IO4 Migrant Community Mediators Collaborative Learning Platform is a tool primarily designed for use by migrants and migrant representative groups. A user-friendly and basic platform it will provide a place for learning as well as peer connection and networking.
The project intends to have the following impact from a regional level right up to a European level;
- increased volume and quality of articulation between our newly trained migrant community mediators, community representatives, public authorities, educators etc. to develop effective support initiatives to foster the inclusion, diversity, equality and intercultural understanding of migrants in their new societies
- a rise in the number of adult education providers offering specific training to migrants on the theme of migrant community mediation
- an increase in the number of migrants becoming migrant community mediators (40+ during the lifetime of the project) leading to increased social cohesion and a greater sense of inclusion for migrant communities who will become agents of change in their own lives and in the communities they live in.