The Self-Advocacy Team (SAT) was created in March 2019 out of the need expressed by several communities to be included in all matters related to society, under the main argument that political inclusion was a key element of social inclusion.
Since then the priorities of the SAT focused on raising awareness on policy changes, advocating for inclusion, the rights and obligations of refugees and migrants and promoting the good practises of cooperation between all relevant actors; Communities, State Authorities and NGOs. The SATs ultimate objective is to bring to the decision-making table self-advocates that would enhance future policies regarding the integration of refugees & migrants in the host and European society.
The last three years the SATs cooperation with the Greek Forum of Refugees, always in respect to the SATs purpose and goals, has engaged in several European projects that promote self-advocacy, train our advocates, create and provide opportunities for decision-makers and self-advocates to share ideas & good practises on a common table in an attempt to influence future policies.
Establishing an official communication between the Communities and the State is the most prominent objective of the SAT. The Greek Municipalities’ Migrant & Refugee Integration Councils (MRICs) offer a platform for the interaction between the local authorities and the migrant & refugee population. The engagement of the Self-Advocacy Team in the MRICs sessions is considered a best practise on inclusion and integration and it was noted by organisations and individuals around the EU and had as an outcome a project that would define this practise as a solid factor of integration throughout Europe.
The DEPART project (Developing Effective Policies for migrants and refugees through SAT-based policy making processes) is one of the projects that aims to this specific interaction. DEPART is co-funded by the European Commission, specifically from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
The project aims to contribute to the concrete inclusion of migrants and refugees in Member States through the establishment of a structured and formalised way to consult migrants on policies that directly concern them called Self-Advocacy teams (SATs). SATs are a flexible, rooted and participated solution to give Third-Country Nationals (TCNs) empowerment and representativeness functional to their holistic integration in EU societies.
The project intends to create a path involving major stakeholders of inclusive policy-making processes in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain (migrants refugees, policy-makers and practitioners), to develop and test at EU level a methodology successfully piloted among TCNs in Greece. The methodology is built around the concepts of integrated, evidence-based and participatory approaches leading to:
(1) Assess the policy making processes with reference to TCNs inclusiveness in hosting society, especially to understand the obstacles to mobilization, representation and participation of TCNs
(2) Empower TCNs on their rights and the potentialities of proactive approaches to local policy making as a step towards inclusion
(3) Raise awareness and increase capability of policy makers and institutional officers about inclusive policy making processes,
(4) Implement pilot co-design policy meetings between the actors in play to test the cooperative and concrete process that will be disseminated
The results of the whole empowering and co-designing process will be evaluated by a robust impact evaluation plan able to deliver EU Member States an effective methodology and disseminated online and offline within a communication framework which goes beyond the average projects’ dissemination actions.
In doing so, DEPART in the medium and long run will contribute to the integration of migrants and refugees delivering Member States a methodology proven in different areas of EU to increase the participation of migrants to matters affecting them and making them owners of new tools.
The project takes place in four (4) different European countries with partners both from organisations and Municipalities. Led by the Greek Forum of Refugees, the rest of project partners are: