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. It is implemented in ten municipalities around the capital area. The project will continue as Navigator 2.0 until June 2022 jointly with IOM Finland and the Finnish Refugee Council.
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 for quota refugees in the participants' own language. The courses give basic information about the Finnish society. The Civic Orientation courses started in the Autumn 2019 in the target municipalities.
Trainers for the Civic Orientations have been trained within the project to provide the course in 12 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Dari, English, French, Kinyarwanda, Kurdish, Persian/Farsi, Russian, Somali, Swahili and Tigrinya. The Finland – Civic Orientation Textbook has been translated into Arabic, Dari, English, French, Somali and Swedish. The textbook is freely available at yhteiskuntaorientaatio.fi.
The Navigator project has also published an infographic of quota refugee's journey to Finland and to the home municipality. The infographic gives a clear overview of the resettlement stages and quota refugees' path to their new home. It can be utilized in the planning and development of client work in municipalities, as well as in courses and introductions in various basic services and organizations.
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.
Refugee’s journey to a municipality -training has been developed to enable a multiprofessional and local approach to receiving and resettling refugees and supporting integration comprehensively. The training for basic service professionals, officials, and other municipal actors has been implemented in Järvenpää, Vihti, Kerava and as a Teams webinar with the City of Hyvinkää.
A handbook for municipal professionals, Supporting integration with one's own language, has also been published within the Navigator Project to support the competence of municipal professionals. The handbook is available in English, Finnish and Swedish and can be freely downloaded here: IOM Publications.
Civic orientation in one's own language improves integration
The Finnish Refugee Council has developed a comprehensive Civic Orientation course to be organized in participants' own language. In addition, the Finnish Refugee Council has produced the Finland - Civic Orientation textbook to ensure equal course structure and contents in every language. The 70-hour course familiarizes participants with the Finnish society and offers newcomers necessary civic skills which will improve integrating into their new home municipality.
The trainers who have been and will be trained by the Finnish Refugee Council within the project can be employed by municipalities, colleges or companies. There are already 21 certified trainers available. The Civic Orientation is being developed throughout the project in cooperation with the municipalities.
Navigator project will continue until June 2022
The Refugee’s journey to municipality training sessions for municipalities and officials will continue remotely, and anyone interested in implementing a training in their area is welcome to contact Minna Savolainen (msavolainen [at] iom.int).
Finnish Refugee Council will continue training more trainers who can teach in various languages. In addition, within the project Civic Orientation courses will be implemented. Katja Korhonen (katja.korhonen [at] pakolaisapu.fi) will answer any questions concerning the Civic Orientation.
The project is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).