Examples of strengthening migrant organizations and structures within Germany
Migrant organizations (organizations run by migrants for migrants) are a bridge between immigrants and the host society. They are often the first place for immigrants to go in their new homeland. They also represent the immigrants’ interests, which makes them an important contact point for policy-makers and public administrations. Since most of these organizations are run by volunteers they have a relatively low level of organization and few staff. In order to change this, since 2013 the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has supported selected migrant organizations in building capacities. This structural support aims at establishing migrant organizations which work in all parts of Germany as a steady and reliable point of contact for federal authorities. BAMF provides funding to help the organizations set up a secretariat, making their work more professional. In addition, the organizations are strengthened through workshops and networking meetings. Currently, BAMF supports seven migrant umbrella organizations. Further organizations whose priority is refugee assistance will be added in mid-2017. This will give refugees a stronger voice so that integration policies are developed not only for them but also with them.
Examples for tailored support for volunteers
- A meeting room, legal advice or funding for an event: it is mostly the small things that local volunteers need. Therefore, BAMF supports 14 Houses of Resources across Germany. Volunteers can contact these houses, for example if they need money for micro projects, rooms or advice on various topics such as project management, accounting and public relations. The most important advantage of this service is that the organizations receive flexible help tailored to their individual needs. This unbureaucratic approach ensures quick and straightforward help for local integration efforts.
- In addition, BAMF supports volunteers through workshops for multipliers. In these workshops, volunteers learn important skills for their work. BAMF offers these workshops every year, and each workshop focuses on a different topic. For example, this year’s topics included managing associations and projects, helping refugees and reducing prejudices. Volunteers can apply for these workshops with BAMF and adjust them to their specific needs. For 2017, 1.4 million euros have been earmarked for this.
- The project Diversity in Unity – Promoting Potential, Reducing Prejudices aims at overcoming prejudices and stereotypes and at promoting tolerance and intercultural dialogue as well as engagement in development policy. To achieve this, various training (e.g. anti-racism training, empowerment training) and networking opportunities are offered. These services are aimed at people with and without an immigrant background who are already active in development organizations or who are interested in joining them.
Project run by: Dachverband Entwicklungspolitik Baden-Württemberg e.V. (Baden-Württemberg umbrella organization for development policy)
Project period: September 2016 – August 2019