Following on from a series of initiatives to tackle the current refugee crisis announced by the European Commission, the Erasmus+ programme will have a clearer focus on supporting refugees and other marginalised groups in 2016.
The European Commission has recently launched two new webpages for Erasmus+ on this topic:
- The first looks at the issue across all sectors participating in the programme.
- The second looks specifically at helping refugees through higher education.
Additionally for 2016, the Programme Guide has been updated to address issues around social cohesion, and the integration of refugees and migrants.
“Europe needs more cohesive and inclusive societies which allow citizens to play an active role in democratic life. Education and youth work are key to prevent violent radicalisation by promoting common European values, fostering social integration, enhancing intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community. Erasmus+ is an important instrument to promote the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds, especially newly arrived migrants, in response to critical events affecting European countries.” Page 7, 2016 Call Programme Guide
More specifically, youth projects across all Key Actions and the Strategic Partnerships action (Key Action 2) more generally have updated priorities to enable organisations to work with these identified target groups.
- For youth projects, the award criteria given in the Programme Guide have been updated to reflect this priority. For example for Key Action 1 projects, the award criteria under ‘relevance of the project’ now includes criteria linked to reaching out to young people with fewer opportunities including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants along with criteria linked to social inclusion and preventing the violent radicalisation of young people.
- For Strategic Partnerships (Key Action 2) organisations working in the education, training and youth fields are encouraged to undertake activities aimed at inclusion, combating radicalisation and helping migrants and refugees. Horizontal priorities for this action are applicable across all fields and include the following:
“Inclusive education, training and youth: in line with the Paris Declaration, priority will be given to actions addressing diversity in (formal and non-formal) education and training, developing social, civic, intercultural competences and media literacy, combating discrimination and segregation, tackling bullying, reducing disparities in learning outcomes affecting learners with disadvantaged backgrounds in particular through innovative integrated approaches. This should also involve enhancing the access, participation and performance of disadvantaged learners and facilitating their transitions: between different levels and types of education and training; from education/training to the world of work; and/or from one employment to another. Given the critical context, particular attention will also be given to support projects involving refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and/or focussing on the topic of the refugees' crisis in Europe.”
Applying for funding in 2016
UK organisations applying for funding in 2016 who wish to work in this area are strongly advised to read the relevant sections of the 2016 Programme Guide in detail, alongside the guides for applicants which are produced by the UK National Agency for each Key Action and sector. You can find comprehensive information on making an application in our apply for funding section.
UK case studies
There are many Erasmus+ projects in the UK already working with these target groups. One such project, led by the IARS International charity, focuses on the issues faced by refugees once they have found asylum to help them integrate into UK life through a unique training scheme.
Charity founder, Dr Theo Gavrielides, said race and gender inequalities, gender-based violence, as well as difficulties related to their immigration status mean that refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women are particularly vulnerable groups in the UK.
He said: “The IARS International Institute is very pleased to lead on this timely and much needed three-year project Abused no More. Young people have been affected the most by the recent economic and political restructures including the refugee crisis in Europe.
“Over the next three years the IARS International Institute kindly supported by Erasmus+ funding will work in partnership with four European partners aiming to improve the realities of those young women by balancing issues of race and gender equality across Europe.”
The project also aims to improve services provided to young people, enabling them to acquire legal literacy skills in order for them to resolve daily issues. The project will address the exclusion of young refugee and migrant women and will work holistically to enable their active participation in society. Read the full case study.
In 2015, the European Union launched a series of documents and sources of information on this topic area. A good summary of policy developments can be found on the European Commission’s webpage ‘Towards a European agenda on migration’.
For the latest news on the refugee crisis, please see State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis, Brussels, 4 January 2016.
You can also find a searchable list of Erasmus+ projects across Europe supporting refugees and migrants.
The most recent policy document on this area is entitled ‘European Agenda on Migration’ and can be downloaded as a PDF.