Navigator - Towards Diversity in Municipalities is a three-year project (2018-2021) in which IOM Finland together with the Finnish Refugee Council and Diaconia University of Applied Sciences support municipalities in their integration efforts. The project is implemented in ten municipalities around the capital area.
Firstly, the project aims to strengthen the professionality of municipal decisionmakers and workers. A training model has been developed through a needs-based approach. In addition, the aim is to cultivate dialogue and cooperation across service sectors and municipal borders.
Secondly, the project provides Civic Orientation courses in native languages for quota refugees and other people who have a residence permit based on international protection. The courses give basic information about the Finnish society. The Civic Orientation courses started in the Fall 2019 in the target municipalities. Trainers for the Civic Orientations have been trained within the project to provide the course in English, Dari, Arabic, Farsi, Tigre and Amhara languages. The trainers’ Finnish Civic Orientation Textbook has been translated into Somali, Arabic, English, Dari and Swedish. The textbook is freely available.
Successful integration requires support for both parties
Successful integration actualizes in interaction between the refugees and the receiving communities, and therefore requires support for both parties.
The project is being implemented in a participatory way. The training model for the municipal workers has been planned considering their needs and in cooperation with the target groups. For example, quota refugees and integration coordinators from the region have been interviewed, and decisionmakers’ views have been consulted with an electronic survey.
The materials and the training model will be published later to be utilized nationally as well.
Civic orientation in native language improves integration
The Finnish Refugee Council has developed a broad Civic Orientation course to be implemented in native languages as well as the trainers’ textbook. The 70-hour course familiarizes participants with the Finnish society and offers newcomers necessary civic skills which will improve integrating to new home municipality.
The native language trainers who have been and will be trained by the Finnish Refugee Council within the project can be employed by municipalities or colleges in the future. The Civic Orientation is being developed throughout the project in cooperation with the municipalities.
The project is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).