UNINTEGRA – Universities leading research and training for the integration of refugees
Various locations in Spain, Greece and Portugal
Type of Information
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Universidade do Minho, Fundación ACSAR, Fundació Universitaria Balmes and Local Council of Santiago de Compostela
Víctor Arce Vázquez (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Vice Rector of Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
UNINTEGRA is a comprehensive initiative for the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into the host society, offering socio-educational, emotional and self-empowerment support. The core actions of the project include training professionals, developing educational activities on the ground and providing the refugee community with self-management tools. The project will also produce a protocol for the recognition of refugees’ academic competences, favouring access to higher education.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
In the context of the arrival of more than one million refugees to Europe since 2015, UNINTEGRA aims to empower the refugee and asylum seeker community, create mechanisms to make higher education more inclusive and facilitate comprehensive integration into the receiving society.
More specifically, this project has the following objectives:
- To act at an early stage of the migration process by providing refugees at camps and reception centers with psycho-social, emotional, educational and self-management support and empowering them in their approach to the integration process
- To provide asylum seekers and refugees with post-arrival support and enable key institutional and social actors to deal successfully with the challenge of integration at the cultural, social and regulatory levels in host communities
How does it work
The project is organised around six major work components, which are implemented in the participating countries of Greece, Spain and Portugal by the project partners—Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Universidade do Minho, Fundación ACSAR, Fundació Universitaria Balmes and Local Council of Santiago de Compostela. Different pairings or groups of the project partners are responsible for implementing each phase of the project, based on their expertise and experience.
- Development of a protocol for validation of academic competences and credentials of third-country nationals. This action involves research on existing regulations, initiatives and measures dealing with recognition of academic credentials, taking into account the European Passport of Qualifications. The project will propose measures, procedures and criteria for the assessment of competences and qualifications, followed by dissemination of the proposal.
- Raising awareness among the academic and local community and facilitating integration of third-country nationals in the host society. The project will produce research on integration-related topics and publish three guides for key actors and stakeholders in the integration process. The guides will focus on integrating refugees in the education system, communities and labour market.
- Pre-departure support for refugees in Greece. Components of this action include the organisation of professional and volunteer teams to support refugees in Greece; training for people working with refugees in Greece; development of structured activities for refugees aimed at emotional recovery, empowerment and social participation (especially aimed at minors and women); and general communication and dissemination of tools produced by the project.
- App4Refs. The project developed a free mobile app to help refugees in Athens integrate into their local community. The mobile app focuses on providing legal information, local resources, useful links and other relevant information.
- Training of staff and volunteers in assisting third-country nationals in need of international protection. The training course was held for two hours per day over the course of one month, for 40 hours in total. Participants included social and youth workers, members of civil society organisations and volunteers. The training covered topics such as the foundations of the international refugee protection system, rights and responsibilities of refugees/asylum seekers, social and financial resources for the protection of third-country nationals and cultural and social approaches to inclusive integration.
- Integration training programme for asylum seekers. This training aimed to equip asylum seekers, especially women, with tools and methods to support their integration into the host society. Around 45 beneficiaries participated in four hours of training per day over the course of one month, for 80 hours in total. The target group of beneficiaries were asylum seekers who wished to continue their educational paths or who had university diplomas providing access to the labour market.
During its first year, the project has strengthened ties with more than 30 NGOs working with refugees. More than 20 experts and 200 humanitarian professionals and social agents have participated in the training and dissemination activities organised in Greece, Spain and Portugal.
The project has received positive feedback from beneficiaries and expects to have a direct or indirect impact on at least 3,000 refugees through the activities implemented in the three participant countries. It has also implemented numerous training courses, seminars, workshops and volunteering projects.
The mobile app to support refugees in Athens has launched.
A mid-term evaluation has been conducted based on internal indicators. The evaluation results show that the project’s progress matches the goals and timeline that had been set out for the project.
Who will benefit?
Beneficiaries are asylum seeker and refugee communities in Greece, Spain and Portugal, as well as professionals, local authorities, organisations and academic institutions working with these groups.
Source of funding and Resources used
UNINTEGRA is 90% funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Commission, in the amount of €744,639, and 10% funded by the resources of the project partners, with the participation of internal staff at the management and implementation levels.