Migrant and Refugee Participation: Approaches to Rethinking Integration Policies Etudes de l'Ifri, mai 2020
In France, people participating in policies and programs that affect them is not a new concept. It has been widely studied in the field of social work and the fight against poverty, and is at the heart of many experiments. How can this concept of participation, as is outlined for people experiencing poverty, be applied to refugees and migrants? Does the participation of refugees and migrants present specific characteristics?
The aim of this study is to take stock of the issue of refugee and migrant participation, which is often discussed, but has not been systematically studied in France. Employees, professionals, volunteers, activists, beneficiaries of programs who are also involved in running them, organization leaders, representatives of local authorities and institutions, and founders of non-profit organizations with experience of migration were interviewed. They described the experiences of refugee and migrant participation at work within their organizations, the motivation of the people who implemented them and the difficulties encountered.
While many organizations (nonprofit organizations, groups of volunteers, local authorities) are convinced that refugee and migrant participation is key to the success of reception and integration programs and public policies, so far, few initiatives have been developed with them based on their expertise. Programs offered to new arrivals in France are often developed in advance by people who have no experience of migration without involving migrants and refugees. The participation of migrants and refugees indeed faces many obstacles and limits.
This study also proposes to identify methodological elements in the form of advice for those working on the field. These will help identify ways of overcoming the difficulties encountered in the implementation of participation mechanisms, or, perhaps, provide useful ideas for initiating action-taking capacity development processes for individuals in need of support. Finally, this study identifies measures that aim to support and consolidate initiatives promoting migrant and refugee participation, that encourage new structures to experiment with them, and that enable public authorities to become more involved in the issue and eventually enshrine the necessity and relevance of participation in the law making process.
The full study is only available in French here. An executive summary in English can be downloaded below.