Through a three-year project funded by Comic Relief, we are working to improve the integration of children on the move between the Middle East and Europe as they reach and settle in new communities or return to their community of origin.
About the project
Worldwide, the number of children on the move across borders increased significantly in the last decade. UNICEF found that 23,000 children and adolescents arrived in Europe in 2021, escaping conflict, violence, poverty or environmental degradation. Migration can take an emotional toll on children, and puts them at increased risk of protection violations. These risks are exacerbated when they are separated from family.
For many children who cross borders as migrants, asylum seekers or refugees, returning to their communities of origin is against their best interests, and/or is otherwise not possible. As a result, efforts need to be focussed on integrating children into new care arrangements and receiving communities, and ensuring equal and equitable care and protection. Despite the many and varying practices being implemented to support the integration of refugee and migrant children into their new country and community, there is very little learning on what works, or comprehensive guidance for practitioners.
In 2020, Family for Every Child began a three-year project, funded by Comic Relief, which focuses on the integration of children on the move between the Middle East and Europe. The project generates learning and knowledge on integration and uses it to create a tested practice toolkit, and to influence policy and practice change for improved integration of children in focus countries, as well as the wider region.
This project involves four Family for Every Child member organisations: METAdrasi (Greece), Naba’a (Lebanon), Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen (Germany), and Programa Integra (Italy).
The project works in two phases:
Phase 1 – Learning: Between 2020 and 2022, consultations took place with caregivers, children and young people with lived experience in Lebanon, Greece and Germany, generating new knowledge about experiences of integration. A comprehensive literature review consolidated existing research, and a Community of Practice formed of practitioners from 12 organisations in 9 countries enabled shared practice and new knowledge to be generated.
Phase 2 – Tools and Guidance: this phase will build on the learning from phase one by developing new tools and guidance for practitioners, helping them to improve services and advocate for change more effectively.
We have already published a number of reports sharing the findings from Phase 1 of this project:
- Integration of children on the move in Germany
- Integration of children on the move in Greece
- Integration of children on the move in Lebanon
- Report on the PhotoVoice project with children on the move in Greece
Upcoming in this phase is also a regional report that will cover findings from all three countries.
Toolkit (available from November 2023)
Phase 2 of this project will lead to the develop of a toolkit which will provide practitioners with practical guidance for the care, protection, development and well-being of children on the move towards and within Europe. It will provide a model for integration, along with principles and core components, good practice guidance and links to already existing key tools and resources. It will be primarily aimed at practitioners, including programme managers across all sectors i.e. governments, civil society, faith-based organisations etc., working in receiving countries, whether that be transit, destination and third countries. The toolkit will serve to compliment the 2016 Reintegration Guidelines which focus on return and reintegration in country of origin.