Migration is a highly formative phenomenon of modern societies and is steadily increasing in our globalized world. While some voluntarily go to another country for studying, working, or other reasons, a large number is forced to flee. At the end of 2018, over 70.8 million people worldwide were displaced. 25.9 million of these people are refugees who fled their homes from conflict, persecution or serious violations of human rights. 80 % of those people stay within their home country or flee to one of the neighbouring countries; and hundreds of thousands to millions made and make their way to Europe every year and target a better life in the host countries (UNHCR, 2020).
These persons are finally the beneficiaries of this project as all are migrants that came to Europe for a verity of reasons; most of them came to find better conditions for working, for housing, for education, for a better future for their children; or what else the reasons might be. They are hopeful, they have dreams and wishes and often underestimate the difficulties of integrating into a new society.
They are not familiar with the respective host country’s culture and its integral values, nor how the society’s systems are functioning – like the social system and its integral education-, work- and health systems. Values, habits, and rules are different, the roles of men and women often irritate, clothing differs and the whole life might be against the expectations one had. Thus, support is highly needed to get along with these parallelises in order to allow for a positive integration.
The project MultiPlus+. Migrant Multipliers build Bridges centers a group of persons that delivers this support and contributes to integration affords: the so-called multipliers.
Multipliers usually are women, seldom men, well integrated in their host countries as well as have a good standing in their communities of origin. They speak the national language, e.g., English, very well, often are role models and a kind of “bridge builders” between the two communities or, wider, societies. For that reason, organizations, e.g. community or counselling centers, often hire them when planning to inform migrant communities about specific topics, e.g. like the applicant organization OMEGA did in the two EU-projects: Opening doors and Draw the Line, both about prevention of sexual harassment in different settings.
However, there are certain challenges that are accompanying multipliers’ tasks:
Trainings for multipliers usually have their focus on conveying content and only little attention is paid on the means and methods of how multipliers pass this content on to the migrants’ communities. The method used in the following activities of multipliers mainly is described as “Workshop”. Indeed, it mainly is an “information talk”, meaning the multiplier reports what she (he) has learned and the beneficiaries (migrants in the communities) listen, sometimes ask questions. This approach is not learner-centered and although people are satisfied that they receive at least any information, it would be an important step towards quality assurance and professionalization of multipliers to enhance their teaching and training skills.
The pedagogical approaches that are commonly used in host countries are often completely different to what migrants have experienced in their education and contradict their understanding of what constitutes good-quality teaching and learning in their home countries. Immigrants mainly come from a background in which learning is almost exclusively determined and dominated by teachers. They might be disoriented by the learning pathways they get to know here as methods used in Workshops are especially those methods that are expecting the participants to in-depth work on a specific topic; or to work in groups and interpret a text of someone and present the results in the plenum (e.g. UNESCO 2018). An integration of methods migrants know from at home could be helpful in reaching the outcomes expected.
Furthermore, no attention is paid on the different roles that multipliers take over depending on the topic they are transferring, nor on the socio-political dimension of their actions as they are not only transferring pure information about a subject to the migrant communities but also its integral values of the host country.