Social integration measures

General Description

The RESCUE Partners gathered 20 experiences of work with Syrian refugees and IDPs during the period March-June 2017. Finally, after a selection phase, 17 of these experiences were analysed, 6 from European countries and 11 from partner countries.

The selection phase took into account the following aspects in order to collect and study the information properly:

  • Projects, programs or activities running currently (at least during 2016). Activities or actions planned to be implemented in the future were excluded.
  • Projects, programmes or activities with an impact or potential impact into the refugee crisis and the educational field.
  • Projects, programmes or activities that give proper information in order to cover the majority of the questions proposed.

According with the selection criteria the initiatives were divided in 7 topical categories.

The Categories are the following:

  • Social integration measures: addressed to improve the integration of refugee students in their new social and cultural environment. These initiatives cover a wide range of activities, for instance, language courses, raising awareness campaigns, activities;
  • Labour market integration measures: actions, activities, and so on, addressed to improve refugee employability. The employability is defined as the capability of getting and keeping satisfactory work. In this field we find vocational training;
  • Access to education. The access to education category involves measures addressed to facilitate, encourage and enhance the enrolment of refugee students into the educational system. This category integrates such measures as recruitment activities, removal or flexibility of some bureaucratic requirements, recognition of prior learning, accommodation;
  • Financial support. The financial support includes free tuition fees, tuition discounts for Syrian students, scholarships, etc.
  • Integration into the educational institution. In this category there are initiatives that fully or partially include activities addressed to facilitating the integration of Syrian students for instance buddy programs, mentoring, etc.
  • Social and legal assistance. This is a complex category that includes psychosocial assistance and legal assistance;
  • Networks/alliances. This category includes cooperation between different actors in the same initiative: NGOs (local, national, international), universities, European Union, United Nation agencies.

    Important to point out that sometimes a single initiative can be categorized in more than one item.

Hashemite University (Jordan)

Country: Jordan
Institutions: Hashemite University
Name of Experience: Social Work Center


The Social Work Center aims to develop the “profession of social work” through strengthening the infrastructure underlying it, particularly the professionals. If they are qualified, these social workers are influential especially that they are in direct and continuous contact with clients and decision makers at various levels. This center also focuses on studying and evaluating the needs of the society, service-users, and services-providers. Accordingly, training and academic plans are developed to meet these needs in accordance with the societal changes such as changes in the structure of the society, laws and legislations, and curriculums of social work. All these perspectives will contribute positively to the profession; social work will be one of the leading professions that deal to the many changes facing the Jordanian society

More information at: Hashemite University Social Work Center


The Beneficiaries of this initiative are as follows:

  • Government and volunteer social organizations, Societies and institutions offering services for families in Zarka, Mafraq, Jarash, and Ajlon Areas.
  • Department of Family safety and Protection.
  • Clinics, hospitals, healthcare centers, and mental health centers.
  • The Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Interior, and the Public Security Directorate.
  • Various Organizations and Institutions at Arab Countries The Social Work Center provides the following services: Training.
  • Establishing a training unit.
  • Developing training packages of social work in different subjects.
  • Training on how to apply the developed training portfolios.
  • Supervising the training process.
  • Conducting national and regional workshops to train social workers on different social work.
  • Conducting an annual national conference for exchanging ideas and information about various ways for developing social work profession.


  • Offering multidisciplinary consultations at the national, regional, and international levels.

Conducting Studies and Research

  • Conducting survey to assess public’s attitudes toward social work profession.
  • Developing a database about the social work profession, number and mix of social workers, and various societal needs in accordance with the general plan of human resources development in Jordan.
  • Conducting studies and joined multidisciplinary research studies with the different related organizations that include studies about social work services provided for different ages.
  • Developing tools for screening, diagnosing and evaluating social problems.
  • Standardizing available international research tools
  • Preparing “a practice manual” for social work profession as well as its code of ethics. Networking and Awareness
  • Preparing and applying activates related to raising policy makers’ awareness to develop appropriate policies and legislations related to social work profession.

Networking and Awareness

  • Preparing and applying activities to increase public’s acceptance of social
  • Work services.
  • Coordinating a network among national, regional, international organizations to develop social work services.
  • Developing and applying activities to raise the parental awareness of the importance of preventing and dealing with social problems.
  • Disseminating results of need assessment study

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific contex

The idea behind the establishment of the Social Work Center in Hashemite University started on December 2006 after a call from Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the President of the Jordan River Foundation, to develop the profession of social work in Jordan. This project was an outcome of a national partnership and collaboration between the Hashemite University, Jordan River Foundation, and British Council The University of Reading (UK) and Brunel University (UK) to develop Social Work as a Profession and to review the way in which future Social Workers are educated. Hashemite University has been responsive and proactive in promoting her majesty’s initiative through establishing multi-disciplinary faculty team to put forwards the draft and action plan to Social Work Project (Professional Diploma Degree in SW, and Center of Social Work for Training, Research, and Consultations)

Sustainability is guaranteed because:

  • The committee members of Developing Social Work Center are university staff
  • The income from the training courses offered by the center is invested in its sustainability
  • The activities are part of the institution’s strategy


Depending on the capability of each partner/institution, each can establish a center as the one in the Hashemite University or at least take advantage of training courses by training our staff or providing such courses to the targeted audience in the partner universities.

Innovative character

The center is adapting existing methods and providing support for various organizations and institutions at Arab countries.

Jordan River JRF (Jordan)

Country: Jordan
Institutions: Jordan River JRF
Name of Experience: Youth Career Initiative

In 2007, JRF joined forces with Business In The Community (BITC) and leading hotels to begin the Youth Career Initiative (YCI). As a result of this collaboration, Jordan became the first country in the Middle East to implement such a program. YCI was created to empower disadvantaged and vulnerable youth, by equipping them with relevant life and work skills and exposing them to a successful business environment and professionals who will enable them to make informed career choices and become employable. The Program’s strategy focuses on raising awareness on employment opportunities available for youth in the hotel industry, encouraging them and their parents to consider work in hotels.

More information at Jordan River Foundation.

The Program has achieved the following:

  • 72 youth participants have successfully graduated from training courses with improved economic prospects to actively participate in the Jordanian workforce.
  • 48 youth participants have successfully been employed in the hotel industry and tourism sector.
  • 48 families have benefitted from the supplemental and regular income incurred by these employed youth.
  • Seven YCI graduates have returned to the educational system.

YCI graduates have become role models for other youth within their families, peer groups 32 Refugees Education Support in Mena CoUntriEs and communities, in turn making these individuals potential YCI candidates.

Hotels have increased the percentage of qualified Jordanian staff, which indicates a general and increased acceptance of local participation in Jordan’s tourism industry.

The number of annual YCI youth applications has increased, reflecting a positive cultural change in Jordanian youth. The current fifth cycle of the Program includes 25 youth, of whom two are female

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Through its main programs Jordan River Community Empowerment Program (JRCEP) and The Jordan River Child Safety Program (JRCSP), JRF addresses the strategic importance of activating the role of youth as key players in the social and economic development of their communities, and is a strong believer that engaging youth in their communities through voluntary interaction at an early stage, and during adolescence, is a strong stimulator for civic engagement in adulthood. The Foundation has a strategic objective of promoting positive youth development by engaging young people in meaningful activities that enhance their skills and capacities. It works towards transforming communities’ perception of youth as challenges that should be controlled and addressed, and instead to regard them as partners in the decision-making process. JRF also encourages the fostering of interpersonal connections between youth from different backgrounds and experiences, and between youth and adults.

The organization has a small group of JRF friends, The Friends of JRF is a small group of women whose volunteer work is at the heart of the Foundation. It also has 17 partnerships with governmental organizations , in addition to many partnerships with local and international organizations.

Sustainability is achieved by volunteers. Also, there are a number of key stakeholder groups providing limited assurance of our sustainability. Finally, the financial sustainability is achieved by donations and governmental support.

The Training and Consultancy Services Unit (TCS) uses a capacity building methodology that strengthens beneficiaries’ technical and managerial capacities. This begins by assessing individual capacities and identifying capacity building needs, through specially designed forms and assessment visits. Following this, programs which meet these needs are designed, and TCS staff then follows up with these beneficiaries to evaluate business performance. Training topics and manuals developed by the Unit are based on TCS long-term involvement and expertise in building the capacity of JRF beneficiaries, CBOs and cooperatives.

As it can be seen from their methodology, it can be easily replicated in the partner institutions.

Innovative character
In order to capitalize on Jordan’s large youth population, JRF has developed a number of programs to directly engage youth and enhance their participation in the national and local economy. Through this approach, JRF has seen much success thus helping to tackle Jordan’s youth unemployment rate of 28.1% through the creation of jobs and self-start-ups.

JRF continues to work on tailoring additional programs that enhance civic engagement among youth. Through their participatory approach in the work that they carry out in local communities, they always strive to gain the trust of local youths in order to enhance and customize our programs to fit their needs.

The initiative has been tested and implemented and the reports at thier website reflect their success in this initative and the other initivative they launched

Jusoor (Lebanon)

Country: Lebanon
Institutions: Jusoor
Name of Experience: Refugee Education Program: Generation Hope for Syria


Jusoor is a Syrian expatriate-led international NGO that supports various educational initiatives for Syrians affected by the conflict. In Lebanon specifically, the organization’s “Refugee Education Program: Generation Hope for Syria” enrolls Syrian students in primary and secondary schools throughout the country and provides informal education at centers in Beirut
and Biqa’a Valley.
According with the Program “Jusoor has been working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon since June 2013. Jusoor’s refugee education program in Lebanon seeks to ensure Syrian refugees in Lebanon have a holistic, well rounded primary school education through integration into formal schooling whenever possible, introducing contextual and relevant curricula and teaching methods to deliver informal education, and providing a strong psycho-social support within the framework of community engagement and rehabilitation”.

For more information: Refugee Education Program

Lunched in June 2013, the program is currently educating more than 1000 Syrian children. The program is led by displaced Syrian university students, with fundraising and other support from Jusoor’s international leadership.

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context
Syrian refugees include among them large number of Syrians aged 15-24, whose higher education, professional development, and technical training has been disrupted as a result of the violence and general deterioration at both Syrian’s high schools and its public and private universities. According to the report :” Uncounted and Unacknowledged: Syria’s Refugee University Students and Academic in Jordan,” higher education was a critical engine of development and social mobility in pre-conflict Syria.

The team is composed of two parts: employees who are employed by Jusoor, while others work as volunteers. The volunteer students have a desire to both continue their education and help their fellow Syrians.

The major difference of this initiative is that part of the working team is composed of Syrian students, i.e. the refugees themselves. Therefore, possible to replicate this idea in the partner institutions which will be very helpful in gaining sustainability.

Innovative character
This program, notable of both its efficacy and it ripple effects, represents an important example for the benefits that flow from connecting highly-motivated Syrian university students to opportunities to serve and work within their own communities.

Jusoor-Amal Foundation (Jordan)

Country: Jordan
Institutions: Jusoor – Amal Foundation
Name of Experience: Jusoor – Amal Scholarship Fund


The NGO Jusoor and the Amal Foundation have joined efforts to support Syrian students in the Za’tari Camp. The initiative has named as Jusoor-Amal Scholarship Fund and provides Syrian youth leaders in Za’tari Refugee Camp with full scholarships to pursue their undergraduate degree at local Jordanian universities. The Fund targets Syrian youth with a demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership. The Fund is dedicated to suporting Syrian youth to be positive agents of change in the camp community as well as leades in the future rebuilding of Syria.
The Fund’s model is based primarily on students helping students. U.S. students take a lead in fundraings for the scholarsips as well as raising awareness on their campuses to support their Syrian peers. Syrian scholarship recipients are connected with theri US students counterparts in a program of virtual cultural Exchange, promoting mutual understanding to building bridges between the next generation of global leaders.
The first scholraships were awarded starting the 2016-2017 academic year (2 scholarships).
Two scholarships will be awarded to start the 2017-2019 year.
More information about the Project:


2 Syrian youth leaders have received full scholarships to attend Zarqa University. In September 2017, scholarships will be awarded to 2 Syrian youth leaders. The initiative has enabled Syrian youth leaders to pursue their academic and professional goals, gain hope for their future, and develop relationships with the Jordanian university community and their international student peers. These Syrian youth are leaders in their community, actively engaged in leadership roles and community service projects; they use their education to better support their community in the present and build a peaceful Syria in the future.
500+ US students on 10 college campuses have raised awareness about the Syrian refugee crisis and fundraised to support their Syrian peers. The initiative has helped US students to better understand and emphasize with those affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. The US students see the Syrian crisis through the eyes of their international peers, Syrian students, and have mobilized to raise awareness in their community as well as led fundraising to support scholarships. These students have built greater understanding and empathy towards Syrian refugees and spread this awareness through their community through events such as lectures, movies, walks, and cultural exchange activities.
Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context Scholarship provision remains an important initiative to support refugees in Jordan, where demand for existing scholarship opportunities continues to outpace supply. For example, the Fund’s 2017-2018 intake received nearly 200 applications from Za’atari Camp alone for only 2 spots. The Fund has focused exclusively on refugees in Za’atari Camp due to the Fund’s limited number of scholarships, demonstrated demand from youth in the camp for scholarship opportunities, and existing partnership network in the camp. Each year, this targeting of scholarships is reviewed to determine if expansion to larger group is needed. The Fund is a joint initiative of the Amal Foundation and Jusoor, both 501(c)3 organizations based in the US. The financing comes primarily from public contributions in the US based on a student to student model: US students, professors, and community groups fundraise to support the scholarships (either fundraising to sponsor a full scholarship from their respective community or contributing to a collective sponsorship funded by multiple

The Fund coordinates with various local partners on this initiative. Zarqa University is the Fund’s university partner, where students are placed and supported throughout their studies. The Fund also pairs scholarship recipients with a local mentor (volunteer), who supports them through their studies and adjustment to university. The Fund works with UNHCR and NGO partners inside Za’atari Camp to inform youth about the scholarship opportunity and help students access the application (application is online; partners offer computer lab access as needed). The Fund also coordinates with other higher education partners through the Tertiary Education Working Group. In the US, the Fund partners with student groups, university communities, and other community groups to fundraise and raise awareness.

The Fund expects to provide 2-4 scholarships each year to refugee students in Jordan based on its current funding sources. The exact number of scholarships offered is determined based on the outcome of each year’s fundraising through US partners. Note, each scholarship provided is fully funded for a four-year course of study (university fees and student stipend) The Fund may expand its target population based on needs in Jordan and the prevalent supply/demand for local scholarships or based on expansion of funding sources.

If the needs change or greater funding is secured, the Fund would extend its target group to Syrian refugees in Jordan (not only Za’atari Camp) or expand its target group to all refugee nationalities in Jordan. The Fund may also explore streamlining its scholarship application process within that of another larger scholarship provider, depending on available and relevant partnerships. These developments will be explored based on continuing appraisals of the situation in Jordan and higher education landscape.

Other institutions and/or other countries could also implement this model. Local scholarships are a cost-effective means of extending higher education to refugees in Jordan. Local universities, such as Zarqa University, are supportive of refugee students, offering both tuition discounts and recognizing their unique and sensitive situation as refugee students. The Fund estimates approximately a $16,000 cost per scholarship (four year course of study, all university cost covers along with stipend). The local scholarships allow refugee students to remain in their host community, avoiding issues of protection, visas, and language barriers, where they continue to give back to their community through their service and leadership roles.

Targeting scholarships to a wider range of refugee youth leaders and prioritizing not only academic achievement, but also community service and leadership is a core aspect of the Fund’s approach that can also be implemented by other institutions. The Fund’s goal is to provide scholarships to youth leaders, to support their continued impact on their host community and future contribution to rebuild Syria.

To that end, the application process is entirely in Arabic, has no upper age limit, does not have a minimum highschool score, and emphasizes community service and leadership experience. This process was designed in recognition that many youth leaders may lack English skills, may be older than traditional students due to the effect of war on their studies, and not have their aptitude well reflected by their high school exam (especially as many students of interrupted college education took their high school exam over six years ago, before 2011). The application gives weight to continuation of informal education opportunities (ex: NGO courses within the camp) as well as community service and leadership in order to identify youth leaders who have demonstrated commitment to higher education and service. Other institutions could also expand their scholarship criteria to reach a wider range of youth leaders who are already having an impact in their current community and whose education will be applied towards better serving their community today and in the future.

Fundraising through partnerships with student and university communities as well as other community groups. The Fund modelled its financing off of a student to student model in order to serve the dual purpose of fundraising scholarships as well as engaging US communities in understanding and emphasizing with Syrian refugees. The cost of a local scholarship (~$16,000) is a manageable amount for students and community groups to sponsor or

Students are also eager and willing to support their fellow students; the Fund supports these students with mentoring and also connects them with their Syrian student peers through virtual cultural exchange. Other institutions/countries could similarly use this model to support local scholarships and build mutual understanding. There are already groups using variations of this model for international scholarships (ex: WUSC for scholarships to Canada, Books not Bombs for scholarships to the US). A more cost-effective approach would be to use this model for local scholarships, with cultural exchange built into the program through a virtual exchange.

Innovative character
Some innovative characteristics of the Fund include its targeting of refugee youth engaged in community service and leadership as well as its engagement of US students and community groups in funding the scholarships, raising awareness in their home communities, and connecting with their Syrian peers through virtual cultural exchange activities. (see above for more details)

TU Berlin (Germany)

Country: Germany
Istitutions: TU Berlin
Name of the Experience: In(2)TU Berlin

Several facilities of TU Berlin are working together to enhance the academic and social situation of Syrian refugees at campus.

Main initiatives are:

1. Studienkolleg: Teaching German language exclusively for Syrian refugees to make them ready to attend lectures. Language stage C1 is needed for matriculation at TU Berlin.

2. In(2) TU Berlin: Refugees can attend classes without proper matriculation as guest students. When they pass the exam the received credit points are valid after matriculation.

3. Student counseling: General counseling of students who want to study at TUBerlin has additionally counseling Syrian students. This includes selection of suitable study programs, legal and administrative organization and career counseling. also the link between all other initiatives for refugees at TU Berlin. It as well connects to:

4. Psychological counseling: Several types of phobias are present among students, most often related to examination. Traumatized refugee students are advised in this unit and get recommendations for further treatment.

5. In(2) Tu Berlin Kultur Café: cultural exchange in a small café with thematic evenings. The students get into personal contact via music and other cultural activities.

The connection takes place between Syrian, other international and German students as well.

The management and connection of these offers makes the initiative successful and a key feature of universities effort to lower the obstacles of refugees to enter the higher education system.

More information at:


The initiative is running until October 2015. Until now, 2,600 refugees attended a personal information session. 1,400 obtained special consultation sessions. In relation to 10,000 information and 4,000 personal counseling sessions performed for all students this outcome seems to have a high impact and acceptance among the refugee students. Counselling is mainly done by one member of the student counselling office, a psychologist and several teachers for German language at Studienkolleg. A strong benefit of the initiatives in German language which is a substantial obstacle to enter university as the conditions are C1 level which is very ambitious to get in a short period of time. Legal aspects when entering a foreign administrative system is almost impossible to handle without help. This includes the whole options of German study programs but additionally of the German labour market

 Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context

Especially in Berlin the number of Syrian refugees is very high and the number of refugees who want to start or continue their academic education as well. Therefore, support is given by the government, DAAD funding especially for language courses and the local municipality.


First counselling sessions for In(2)TU Berlin program do not show a trend over time concerning the number of participants. For personal consultation the numbers are decreasing. This may be a result of the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey where refugees with an academic background are not allowed to go to Europe, especially Germany. Overall attendance numbers proof the need for the initiative. A general observation is that the number of refugees who take advantage of psychological help increases. The initiative is deeply implemented in the administrative procedures of students counselling and therefore is designed to be long-lasting and sustainable.


Beside specialties of national language, legal and administration issues the main advantage is the connection between these facilities and the capability to create strong network inside and outside university in a holistic way. This is exportable to any other situation concerning counseling of refugee students

Innovative character

Connection of facilities and interdisciplinary approaches to enhance the situation of refugees at university is not a new strategy but usually processes lack strong connections and synergy which increase high efficiency in a small amount of time. Taking the long-lasting structures like student counseling to face new problems makes processes more stable.

University of Barcelona (Spain)

Country: Spain
Institutions: University of Barcelona
Name of the initiative: Transition to graduate studies and training in human rights


The Transition to graduate studies and training in human rights is one of the action lines of the University of Barcelona Refugee Support Program. The Transition course is a pilot project and it started the first edition in October 2016. During the course 2017-2018 will start the second edition.

The transition course provides with a full scholarship (accommodation, free tuition, psychological and legal assistance, social integration measure, etc). During the first edition a total amount of 15 students, coming mainly from Syria, have joint the scholarship.

The transitional course is a preparatory course divided in three modules: Spanish and Catalanlearning language; preparation to the selectivity and human rights module. The course is cofunded by the University of Barcelona and the Barcelona City Council. During the first edition the implementation of different measures (legal assistance, medical assistance, language couples, etc) have allowed to create an internal network (among the different Faculties and departments of the University of Barcelona) and an external network (with the city council and other NGOs that are working into topics related to refugee population, integration, etc)


The transitional course has reach 15 students: 13 Syrian students, 1 Afghan student and 1 Palestinian student. 14 of them will enrol during the academic year 2017-2018 in different university studies and educational cycles.

At the internal level the institutional commitment has been a vital factor for the success ofthe initiative. We have to point out that the City Council commitment with the initiative is also an important point.

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context

The initiative is pioneering in Spain and it has allowed the University to develop its social responsibility chapter. The initiative has also interested different universities that want to replicate the same model.


Economically, the initiative counts with a budget and it is cofunded by the Barcelona City Council and the University of Barcelona. In terms of viability, there is a political commitment to continue with the initiative.


The initiative can be transferable to different actors.


It hasn’t been tested. There will be a first evaluation of the initiative in October – November 2017.

Innovative character

The innovative character is double:

  • The introduction of a global and integral approach. This global and integral approach (orientation, physical and mental health, legal assistance, language learning, human rights, etc) is possible thanks to the links with different Faculties and departments and their collaboration.
  • The human rights approach. The course is addressed to consider students as current and future peacebuilders. The course will give the students the abilities and knowledge needed to handle conflicts.

Barcelona City Council (Spain)

Country: Spain
Institutions: Barcelona City Council
Name of the Experience: Barcelona Ciutat Refugi / Barcelona, Refuge City


The City Council has been offering support to migrants and asylum seekers since 1999, through the Care Service for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees (SAIER). It collaborates, through subsidies, with city NGOs working in asylum and in international development cooperation and education, which have been squeezed hard in recent years by Spanish and Catalan government cuts. It has also had the Barcelona International Peace Resource Centre (CRIPB) since 2009, which promotes peace cultures through dialogue, awareness raising and training in crisis management and conflict resolution.

The “Barcelona, Refuge City” plan was launched in September 2015 in response to the crisis and gear the city up to receiving and assisting refugees, providing the necessary services and guaranteeing their rights, and to calling on states to respect the most elementary standards of humanitarian law.

Our goal is an ambitious one: to equip Barcelona with its own, permanent, comprehensive reception model

The “Barcelona, Refuge City” plan operates on four main lines that involve various City Council departments and services:

Reception strategy: defines Barcelona’s reception model and strategy and the implementation stages. The aim is to minimise its impact and implement it in the most effective way possible, taking into account refugees’ needs and rights but also those of the city’s population.

Care for refugees already in Barcelona: this means bolstering the Care Service for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees (SAIER) and designing a care programme that offers protection and assistance to asylum seekers already in Barcelona who are receiving no help from the state programme.

Citizen participation and information: the plan includes a civic space for coordinating the efforts of the City Council and NGOs in all the voluntary work, awareness-raising and development education tasks. Transparent information tools have also been set in motion, such as this website and a newsletter that will be sent regularly to anyone who is interested in receiving it.

Action abroad: the City Council is pushing for coordination and mutual support between European cities, both on a city-to-city basis as well as in the international networks they belong too. It has also increased the subsidies for NGOs working on the ground, at source and en route.

More information in: Barcelona, Refuge City


The refugees living in Barcelona arrived here on their own account, individually or with their families, by various routes, through Greece and Turkey, the north of Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla or by plane with a tourist visa. SAIER attended to nearly 1,400 people in 2015, 60% more than in the previous year and four times the number for 2012.

The Municipal Reception Programme was launched in 2015 to protect and provide shelter for these people via an agreement with two of the three social entities delegated by the central government to handle the reception process, ACCEM and CEAR. The initiative is now being extended to include other refuge entities working in Catalonia, with agreements being drawn up with the Fundació Benallar, Iniciatives Solidàries, Fundació Ficat and the Associació catalana per a la integració d’homosexuals, bisexuals i transexuals immigrants (Acathi). Psychological support for all users will be provided by the Fundació Exil.

The programme creates a permanent, stable structure for the care and social support of these people and 82 accommodation places in Barcelona, which will provide a service for at least 164 people a year. The cost of the programme, borne by City Council, is 800,000 euros a year, which works out at 30 euros per person per day.

The City Council also gives support other initiatives in Barcelona. The City Council and city associations have educational resources, as well as development education and awareness-raising tools, designed for civil society in general.

The “Barcelona, Refuge City” plan’s civic space is channelling the offers for volunteering that it has been receiving through the Catalan Federation of Social Volunteering (FCVS). The aim is to have a database of everyone who wishes to help and can respond to offers when necessary.

  • Information and awareness-raising activities
  • Environment-discovery, leisure and cultural activities
  • Reception and free-time activities for children
  • Knowledge of the language (language couples)
  • Communication: help in promoting solidarity initiatives and campaigns, social networks and so on

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context

Asylum policy is the State’s responsibility, so the time scale and the number of people coming to Barcelona will depend on the Spanish government and its European commitments. But the central government’s paralysis and lack of information and coordination with regional and local authorities are not only preventing us from gearing up for the arrival of refugees but also creating expectations that are not being met, similar to the situation that arose in the autumn of 2015, when Spain was preparing to receive a high number of refugees relocated from Italy and Greece who did not arrive.

in this context of uncertainty that the “Barcelona, Refuge City” is anticipating events and preparing the city to respond effectively to any scenario: a standard number of people arriving under the European quotas, a massive number of people arriving under unforeseen circumstances or a constant flow of individuals and families arriving out of the blue.

The preparations have been carried out by the city’s urban resilience committees, comprising representatives of many municipal departments and services.


In terms of political sustainability, Refuge City is part of the Barcelona City Council Govern measures. And it is depending to the Fourth Deputy Mayor’s Office and the Social Rights Manager’s Office.

In terms of economic sustainability “Barcelona, Refuge City” has its own budget coming from the public taxes. The City Council will work to accede to European grants in order to complement the budget item.

In terms of social sustainability, the plan action and the initiatives supported have the commitment of the civil society represented at the Espai Social.


The action is transferable, in fact, it has been replicated by other Catalan and Spanish municipalities


The initiative is innovative because the political commitment and the wide scope of actions/activities involved and coordinated by the City Council. All the activities served to the main principles identified in the action plan and give answers to refugee and to the civil society, creating spaces for the collaboration, exchange, learning and proposition.

University of Duhok (Iraq)

Country: Iraq
Institutions: University of Duhok
Name of Experience:

Description of the initiative
The University of Duhok accepted around (1200) undergraduate students at their different Colleges and departments as guest students (IDPs and Refugees) and eventually sends the credentials to their home universities.

The ongoing services are for English language given by the British Council.

The University of Duhok, College of Nursing has conducted a campaign on “Breast Cancer Awareness” for the IDPs and Refugees women at the camps.

The University of Duhok, College of Dentistry has conducted a campaign on children teeth examination.

The University of Duhok, Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies with the help of the New York University conducted hundreds of lectures and workshops on peace building and consolation among the youth of the (IDPs and Refugees) at the camps.

An International Conference on Peace Building has been hosted at the UoD and sponsored by the US Consulate General in Erbil and the Kurdistan Regional Governorate.

The UoD gave premises to the University of Mosul to use for their students to have classes during a period of one year after ISIS breakthrough. Our Volunteer students frequently go to the camps to help (IDPs and Refugees) through the UoD, NGOs and Governmental bodies.

More information at University of Duhok


The number of IDPs and refugee enrolled students in Duhok city is around 1200 students, the rest of them could not attend the university. The main reason for that is the limited capacity of the public universities in Duhok, the missing documents and the hard living conditions of students and teachers and also most of them have to work to maintain life for their families.

Therefore, only around 1200 students and only 80 teachers were able to find teaching opportunities to participate in the different departments and colleges of the University of Duhok.

The impact of the initiative was good because those students have the chance to continue their study and did not lose any year of study. In the case of teachers, some of them were able to teach their students and help their families financially. Many of the students get benefitsfrom the summer vocational trainings, workshops and computer and English courses. These activities made them capable to find jobs and increase their income.

Yarmouk University (Jordan)

Country: Jordan
Institutions: Yarmouk University
Name of the Experience: Refugees, Displaced Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Centre


Yarmouk University (YU) is hosting about 400 refugee students, where the majority of them are Syrians.

Therefore Refugees, Displaced Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Centre supports the studies related to refugees. In addition, it integrates faculty members and other staff in many initiatives to serve refugees.

The center has conducted two international conferences about refugees, the last one was held in May 2017 entitled “refugees in the middle east and human security”. In addition, there was a symposium and a workshop regarding Syrian crisis.

The center has published a book about the Jordanian perception of the spillover of Syrian crisis in Jordan. It has also done an extensive work in order to establish ties and relation with the international donors such as HOPES in order to explore opportunities to fund Syrian refugee’s students and Jordanians at Yarmouk University.

We have created a focus group for Syrian refugee students at Yarmouk University in order discuss their challenges that face them and opportunities they can benefit from.

The center has visited several refugee camps In Jordan such as Al-Zataari refugee camp. Faculty members have participated in that visit which aimed at examining the current educational situation of refugee students at Al-Zataari camp.

Yarmouk University is working with the UNESCO to empower Syrian Refugee students in the higher education system in Jordan. In collaboration with Queen Rania Centre at Yarmouk University, this initiative provides scholarships to 174 students to join diploma programs in many fields.

The center is currently investigating the level of expertise of the refugee students at the post graduate level in order to offer them specific training and activities that directly andindirectly support them

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The number of refugee students is 400 in all faculties.

Some of them are getting support and scholarships from other organizations that the center has relationships with.

The organized workshops have increased the awareness toward refugees challenges in Jordan.

In addition, they increased the number of donors who show their interests to collaborate with the center in conducting studies about refugee issues in Northern Jordan.

Faculty members in the universities become involved in writing proposals, teaching refugee students, etc.

Relevance of the development of initiative in its specific context

20% of the total population in Jordan is Syrian refugees. In Northern Jordan this percent is much higher.

Therefor the center is working closely with refugees and academic staff to coordinate all activities that may serve refugee students. Scholarships are provided by the many institutions, this effort requires some organization by a central unit at Yarmouk University.


The refugee center is sustainable in nature, efforts have been made to solidify the activities to be provided by this unit, maintaining relationships and engaging funded projects into the future. It adds another level of interconnectivity which allows for better communication between refugee students, NGOs and academic staff.

This will also help Jordanians to get involved in trending academic tracks. The activities are shared on social media and other communication media to help the involved students to get scholarships to pursue their graduate level education based on a dissemination strategy.


Sharing activities on social media, website, workshops on the services provided by the unit. Administration and academics staff from other universities will be invited to those events.

Innovative character

a) Building-up of capacity to provide psychological e-counseling services to refugee
b) Prove an innovative ways to increase awareness about the issues of refugees in Northern Jordan
c) Developing and implementing new approaches to train faculty members and administrative staff
d) Internships are offered to international students to work with center at the refugee during summer time

Other/additional information

e) The center is creating smart mobile apps to help refugee’s students to discuss their problems with psychosocial experts.
f) The initiatives have considered specific options to support students at the post graduate level.