To increase integration in Germany, this project tackled the barriers preventing a non-EU immigrant from signing up to become a voluntary fire-fighter.
Integration does not necessarily happen by itself. The figures are striking – just 1% of voluntary fire-fighters in Germany are third country nationals.
This project tackled the barriers keeping this figure low, increasing trust on both sides and creating a welcoming culture within the fire service. It did this by investigating awareness of the problems among fire-fighters, increasing intercultural awareness among fire-fighters and increasing trust among non-EU immigrants. The project thus addressed both non-EU immigrants and their host community.
A fire service works closely with the local community and is integrated into local structures. The inclusion of non-EU immigrants within the organisation strengthens civic engagement, introduces them to the concept of volunteer work, helps create a feeling of self-worth and thus facilitates integration.
The aim is to use this project to put the issue of integration on the agenda of all fire services, throughout Germany.
Success was measured in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Quantitative indicators included the number of people attending the kick-off event, the number of times the press release was published and the number of people becoming integration officers within the fire service. In qualitative terms, the project developed both a mission statement and guidelines on religious diversity.