Published 27 March 2024

Studyvisit from Türkiye focusing on integration

On March 4-8, a representative of the Ҫukurova Regional Union of municipalities and representatives of 6 Turkish municipalities participated in a study visit with the aim of being introduced to Swedish experiences of working with integration of refugees.

The long tradition of local self-government in Sweden and the experiences of Swedish municipalities and regions contribute to our projects in several ways. Therefore, we often involve experts from SALAR and Swedish municipalities and regions in our projects. One example of how this is done concretely is through study visits. On March 4-8, a representative of the Ҫukurova Regional Union of municipalities and representatives of 6 Turkish municipalities participated in a study visit to Sweden. The aim of the visit was to introduce swedish experiences of working with integration of refugees into society, Swedish language and to the job market.

The Turkish municipalities participate in the SALAR project Reslog (Resilience in Local Governance), which aims to strengthen the capacity of municipalities in Turkey and Lebanon to respond to migration-related challenges. The Turkish representatives were given an introduction to SALAR and the Swedish system by SALARs migration expert Lotta Dahlérus. The presentation focused on SALARs work to coordinate Swedish municipalities work with reception of refugees and how Swedish municipalities have worked together under SALAR to advocate their needs in order to ensure well-functioning reception and integration towards the Swedish government- resulting in the Agenda for Integration policy paper.

Successful examples from Swedish municipalities

The Turkish municipalities represented in the study visit all operate municipality operated Community Centers to provide services to their community, including refugees from Syria and other migrants. The delegation therefore visited two municipality operated centers for integration, language training and job coaching for refugees and migrants.

In Gottsunda in Uppsala municipality the Education and Job Center, was visited and in Stockholm, the Welcome House. In the centers, the delegation also met with Swedish civil society representatives who cooperate, run activities and are co-financed by the municipality in the areas of culture, sport and leisure for integration purpose. In Gottsunda the team also visited local Placemaking Neighborhood Development initiatives.

In addition, the Turkish municipality representatives visited the Stockholm district Bagarmossen where the local civil society run a number of Neighborhood development processes and local social entrepreneurship called Bagarmosses Smart-up. This project was funded by the municipal housing company and enabled the community and the local business owners with small funds to re-designed their local center, creating joint gardening in common green areas, bicyle workshops and placemaking. Although this project ended several years ago, community members and civil society in Bagarmossen still keep activities running. Connected to this project and now funded by the municipality was also the civil societys’ own Community Center, “Folkets hus” which hosts many cultural and social initiative including with integration purposes. One example is Swedish with Baby where refugee mothers and their toddlers learn Swedish together with community members of all ages.

Photo from visit to Stockholm Municipality Welcome House, a One Stop Shop with continuous staffed stations to offer services to refugees and migrants in for example social services, civil society matching for refugees, job coaching and entrepreneurship

Highlights of the visit

The Turkish municipality representatives were very appreciative and inspired by these meetings. Among the highlights they pointed out the municipal ownership in Gottsunda in cooperation with citizens, with a focus on participation and inclusion of immigrants. Creating sustainable outcome in supporting the local community in neighborhood development with small financial means was an insight such as in the Place Making in Gottsunda and in the in the Bagarmossen Smart-up. Swedish with Baby was also mentioned as an inspiration, especially their activity with senior members of the community in the “Three Generation activity”. From the Welcome House the Turkish team specifically highlighted the work with job coaching and were inspired by the upcoming job fair where refugees are matched with business looking for work force.

Are you a politician or official in a Swedish municipality or region and want to share your experience through a study visit? Contact SALAR International through the link below.

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