Navigator – Towards Diversity in Municipalities was a three-year project (1.4.2018–31.3.2021) in which IOM Finland together with the Finnish Refugee Council and Diaconia University of Applied Sciences supported municipalities in their integration efforts. The project was implemented in ten municipalities around the capital area.
The project continues as Navigator 2.0 until June 2022 and is led by the Finnish Refugee Council and implemented jointly with IOM Finland. The main aim is to support two-way integration by providing training for both the professionals working in basic and public services and the quota refugees in the municipalities.
During the previous project cycle the capacity of municipal employees was strengthened by developing a training model to support comprehensive integration. The Refugee’s Journey to Municipality Training was implemented in four municipalities. The infographic of the quota refugee's journey to Finland and to the home municipality was developed and published as training material. It can be used independent of the training as well, in planning and developing client work in municipalities, and in different trainings in various service sectors.
During the project, Civic Orientation courses were provided for people who had arrived as quota refugees to Finland, and persons in corresponding situations. Civic Orientation provides necessary and basic information about Finland in the participants’ own language. The Civic Orientation courses started in the fall of 2019 and the last courses were implemented remotely in cooperation with municipalities during the winter of 2021.
Finnish Refugee Council has trained altogether 20 Civic Orientation trainers. They can provide the training in 12 languages: in Amharic, Arabic, Dari, English, Kinyarwanda, Kurdish, Persian/Farsi, French, Somali, Swahili, Tigrinya, and Russia. Municipalities and educational institutions can now hire these certified Civic Orientation trainers.
Successful integration requires support for all parties
Successful integration actualizes in interaction between the refugees and the receiving communities and therefore requires support for all parties.
The training model aimed for municipal employees was developed by listening to municipal specialists, by assessing the local needs, and in cooperation with an integration expert by experience. Quota refugees and integration coordinators from the targeted region were interviewed for the purposes of designing the training model. In addition, decision makers’ views consulted via an electronic survey.
The Refugee’s Journey to Municipality Training gathered good feedback from the participants. Read the assessment report (in Finnish) here.
A handbook for municipal professionals, Supporting Integration with One's Own Language, has also been published as part of the Navigator project. The handbook is available in English, Finnish and Swedish and can be freely downloaded here IOM Publications.
Civic orientation in one's own language promotes integration in the new home municipality
The Finnish Refugee Council has developed a Civic Orientation concept which covers a comprehensive course to be organized in the participants' own language, and the Finland - Civic Orientation textbook. In addition, to ensure a high and uniform quality the Finnish Refugee Council has developed a course train the Civic Orientation trainers. An assessment report has been published about the Civic Orientation courses, which is available (in Finnish) here.
The 70-hour Civic Orientation course familiarizes participants with the Finnish history and institutions, values, and cultures. It offers newcomers necessary civic skills which prepares for successful integration into their new home municipality and learning a new language.
The certified trainers who are trained by the Finnish Refugee Council can be employed now by municipalities and colleges. The Civic Orientation course is continuously developed in cooperation with municipalities.
The Navigator project will continue until June 2022
The Refugee’s Journey to Municipality Training sessions for municipalities and officials continue as a concise and remote version. The training is a basic level training and aimed multi-professionally at professionals in different sectors throughout municipalities, as well as people working for associations and volunteers. The training is implemented in cooperation with the local integration specialists. The training aims to increase the understanding of the importance and significance that public service professionals have for integration. The training also illustrates the resettlement of quota refugees and the beginning of the integration process.
The training sessions will also be offered for government officials. Anyone interested in them is welcome to contact Minna Savolainen (msavolainen [at] iom.int).
The Finnish Refugee Council will continue training more Civic Orientation trainers and the courses will be implemented with partnering municipalities. Katja Korhonen (katja.korhonen [at] pakolaisapu.fi) will answer all questions concerning the Civic Orientation.
The project is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
Civic orientation: Yhteiskuntaorientaatio.fi (in Finnish, the textbook is available in English)
- Blog: Civic Orientation enhances integration and active participation of newcomers