Our innovative SEESI project has seen some pivotal milestones over the past few months, and we want to tell you all about the exciting next steps for the initiative.
Keep reading to find out all about the development of our new digital learning platforms, how we’ve been testing a brand new training course during lockdown and how the SEESI project is feeding into project partner ACH’s system-changing #rethinkingrefugee campaign.
What is the SEESI Project?
The SEESI Project, at its heart, is system-changing. It aims to create a Europe-wide revolution in refugee, migrant and asylum seeker service provision, through a partnership between Folkuniversitet, FISPE, Dimitra, Rinova, Ballymun Job Centre and ACH.
SEESI is an acronym, standing for: ‘Strengthening Employment and Education Skills for Integration -Refugee, Migrant and Asylum Seekers’. As the name suggests, the project aims to strengthen how refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are provided skills for employment and education.
It does this through an innovative partnership that rethinks the way integration services are provided, putting lived experience knowledge at the forefront and centre. The project aims to reconfigure the traditional thought-processes that inform the services offered to newly arrived refugees and migrants to help them to adapt to their new home.
The SEESI Project flows into ACH’s flagship #RethinkingRefugee campaign. The campaign aims to change mainstream thinking around the word ‘refugee’, purposefully using refugee in the singular, to highlight the fact that people with refugee status are individuals, with personal dreams, skills and goals. The plural use of the word ‘refugees’ is used homogeneously to group individuals together. This translates into policy as a one size fits all approach to integration service provision.
SEESI flows into #RethinkingRefugee thinking by redesigning advice and guidance service provision for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, by building services based on lived experience knowledges and centering on tailored support models.
Train the Trainers
Within a community, there are many individuals giving informal advice and guidance to newly arrived friends and neighbors. These people are doing the work of community support workers, but informally for free. They are often from refugee and migrant backgrounds themselves, and are in a unique position to share expertise and lived experience of their integration journey. Through the SEESI Project, we want to formalise this advice and create new, paid jobs for people with lived experience of migration.
On the SEESI Project, we have been developing a unique course teaching advice and guidance training for support workers, based on a lived experience framework and first-language training. Through the creation of course-specific handbooks, we cover topics such as: Civic Participation, employment rights and socio-community issues.
This ‘Train the Trainers’ course has now been piloted with 50 participants from refugee and migrant backgrounds during the ‘test phase’ of the project. Although the current COVID-19 restrictions meant the piloting had to happen over zoom, Whatsapp and blended learning methods – we hope to have face-to-face courses up and running soon!
The feedback from learners on the test courses showed that the training, methods and handbooks are a valuable resource for new arrivals.
Now we have tried and tested the courses, our Greek partners Dimitria are in the process of developing a digital platform to deliver training in time for the end of the summer 2021. The importance of making training available via online platforms is crucial, both during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and beyond.
At ACH, the next steps are to finalise the training materials for the final version of the ‘Train the Trainer’ courses. The course booklets are going through one last edit, based on feedback from learners and partners. After this crucial step, they’ll be populating their digital platforms with all the books and materials in different languages to be accessed all over the world!