Next Door Family project EU
Type of Information
- Project or programme
Bulgan O.Rico (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
'Next Door Family' is an innovative integration project. Its purpose is to bring together Czech families with the families of third-country nationals for a casual lunch in order to encourage (informally) communication and personal friendship ties between native and non-native citizens, and to promote intercultural dialogue.
The project, first launched in the Czech Republic in 2004 by the NGO Word 21, has, over the past 2 years, spread to many other EU countries. In 2012, it was carried out in Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Slovakia and Spain.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The project aims to address the insufficient communication between migrants and majority. The goal is not only to ameliorate the perception of foreigners within the society, but also to influence migrants' attitudes towards majority, which they often perceive as “closed” and “unfriendly”.
The innovation and originality of the project lies in establishing direct and individual contacts between both groups. The project derives from the "inclusive neighborhoods concept", seeking to promote individual friendship ties. By mediating direct contact between foreign and Czech families the project aims to contribute to mutual knowledge and understanding.
Moreover, through media activities the project aims to draw the attention of the general public to the broader issue of the integration of foreigners.
Since 2011, the project also aims to establish, at the European level, a functional international partnership and to facilitate the transfer of know-how and best practices.
How does it work
In 2012 the project included included following activities:
3 MEETINGS of all partners and TRAININGS by Word 21 management in each Partner Organization (transfer of know-how).
FAMILY MEETINGS–lunches at home of one of the participating families (1 native family + 1 immigrant family) took place in November 2012 in all 7 participating countries. Every family meeting involves one local family, one immigrant family and an assistant, who helps with the arrangement of the meetings.
PR AND MEDIA CAMPAIGN and MULTICULTURAL EVENINGS in each participating country with the aim of informing the general public of the project and giving them the opportunity to take part in it
A DOCUMENTARY FILM tracking one family meeting in each project country is being shot.
A joint WEBSITE www.nextdoorfamily.eu was launched in 2012 and is regularly updated.
The project has been implemented in the Czech Republic since 2004. In 2012 the project was implemented in 7 EU countries. A strong international network of 8 organizations working in the integration field has been established, 416 families were involved (Czech Republic - 110 families, Belgium - 30, Italy - 50, Hungary - 32, Malta - 40, Slovakia - 34, Spain - 120) and 3 Steering Committees, 7 Trainings and 11 multicultural evenings have been organized. The project website was launched in 2012: www.nextdoorfamily.eu. A documentary film about the project will be released in January 2013.
Most of the participants – both migrants and natives - appreciated the possibility to see the “normal lives” of the people they were brought into contact with. The families were grouped together according to common interests; in many cases the participants were pleasantly surprised by their mutual similarities and hoped to maintain contact in the future.
The project was widely covered by media and received a very positive reception not only in EU member states, but also outside the EU. In reaction to the publicity, Word 21 is receiving emails from different states from people interested in organizing similar initiatives.
The most demanding part of the project is the involvement of foreigners, as many of them are suspicious of participating in public events and of the media. For this reason, participants were contacted primarily through the personal networks of project assistants (who had migrant background) and through NGOs.
The project has been successful in establishing good relationships between native and immigrant families. According to a research conducted in the Czech Republic, more than 60% of the families met again at least once.
The project was recently evaluated through a questionnaire survey (1800 questionnaires are expected), and, according to preliminary results, most of the participants evaluated the event very positively and are willing to maintain the relationships that were created through it in the future.
In 2011 the project was awarded by SozialMarie price for social innovation.
Who will benefit?
Local and immigrant families, project staff (direct target group) - 1800 people participating in the family meetings, i. e. 210 families from the majority and 210 immigrant families, which will have the opportunity to build personal friendships and reduce the barriers that exist between them, and 210 assistants. The approximate number of the direct beneficiaries of all the family meetings is about 2000 persons
The general public (indirect target group) – who are made aware of the project through its media campaign, which includes a website and documentary film (the documentary, once completed, will be used as educational material), multicultural evenings (1050 visitors), etc.
Source of funding and Resources used
In 2012 the project was supported by European Integration Fund (392961EUR), the co-finances were 45 500 EUR.
The funding for covering the project in 7 project countries (except Portugal) was mostly represented by the grant from the European Fund for Integration of Third-Country nationals, the rest was co-financed by each partner from external (local) sources.
A partner organization from Portugal joined later and has implemented the project with its own resources.