Integration policies tailored to the needs of third-country nationals cannot be built without the direct involvement of people and communities with a migratory background. Even today, these communities struggle to find room and tools to be an active part of socio-political change.

The project SHAPE - SHaring Actions for the Participation and Empowerment of migrant communities and Local Authorities - funded by the European Fund AMIF (Transnational Actions on Asylum, Migration and Integration), has precisely this  objective: to encourage the participation of people with a migratory background and migrant civil sociey organizations (CSOs)  in democratic processes and in the design and implementation of integration policies at local, national and community level of migrant communities.

Specifically, the project aims to: 

  • Strengthen integration policies and promote dialogue between local authorities and migrant communities;
  • Bring togethercitizens with a migratory background, local authorities and policy-makers to co-design pilot projects aimed at triggering a participatory process at the local level, while at the same time creating a structured and formalised method of  consultation for local policies in different fields;
  • Raise citizens' awareness in Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Germany and Portugal about the positive contribution of migrant communities to EU societies.

The action targets 3 states, so-called border states Italy, Hungary and Croatia, where public opinion appears particularly negative towards migrants and 2 leading states regarding migrants' participation in the democratic process, Germany and Portugal.

The project has a duration of 24 months (from January 2022 to December 2023) and sees the participation as partners of:

  • Municipalities of Lousada and Stuttgart
  • 1 international network: ALDA
  • 5 NGOs: WeWorld, Fondation Artmisszio (Hungary), RightChallenge (Portugal), Jesuit Refugee Service (Croatia), LAKA (Germany)
  • The association CONNGI - National Coordination of New Italian Generations

Alongside the partners, the Municipalities of Milan and Bologna, the association Cittàmondo (MI) and the Municipality of Budapest (part of the Eurocities network) will also take part in the project.

The SHAPE project plans to create 5 participatory mechanisms in the 5 countries, dedicated to different fields (housing, work, education, health and gender equality); to directly engage in the training of at least 1,000 citizens from third countries or with a migratory background; to empower at least 200 LAs.

To involve and support communities with a migratory background and local authorities, the project designed and structured the SHAPE Academy: an international training course dedicated to capacity-building to acquire in-depth knowledge in the design and implementation of integration and related policies at local, national and EU levels, through professional and transversal skills to strengthen, support and give voice to migrant communities in democratic processes and in the design and implementation of integration policies.

SHAPE also aims to involve the younger generations and to do so, a web series will be produced featuring citizens with a migratory background and EU citizens, with the ultimate goal of communicating in an engaging and contemporary language the need for active participation of migrants in the definition, planning and implementation of integration policies.