Put Yourself into Integration!
In January 2007 the European Contact Group in the Czech Republic (EKS) has launched a unique training project called “Put yourself into integration” (Czech translation: Buďte in při integraci!). This innovative and tailor-made project is designed to provide training to officials from the governmental sector and NGOs working in the field of integration of foreigners in the Czech Republic.
The training focuses on less common issues in this area such as gender and cultural sensitivity, use of community development methods in daily work with migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities, issues of stereotypes and prejudices etc.
In the project “Put yourself into integration” EKS cooperates with the British NGO Praxis, which has been working for 24 years in London’s East End, a place of numerous ethnic communities.
Together with experts from Praxis, EKS will train 36 Czech officials during the project, which includes 3 cycles. In every cycle the participants will attend three 2-day workshops in Prague, held once a month, a study visit of four days to London and a half-day evaluation workshop.
Continuing co-operations and friendship among the participants prove that the aim of EKS to bring together the officials from the governmental sector and NGOs and to multiply their gained knowledge was achieved.
Meet the lecturers presenting workshops under the project “Put Yourself into Integration!”
Marika Mason. A free-lancer, Marika Mason works for various English non-profit and state organizations. She employs her experience in three areas: lectures on gender issues, researches the needs of various communities and assesses the efficiency of services provided by NGOs. Such research is commissioned by the government in order to inspect individual organizations. She has been working in the social sector for 21 years.
Berhanu Kassayie. Was born in Ethiopia, obtained his doctorate in Bulgaria, and currently works for a London-based organization, Praxis, as project manager. Berhanu Kassayie focuses on research and community development, and manages several projects. He also lectures at university in mature student courses.
Tony Addy. Hails from Manchester where he spent many years working on community development and integration of socially excluded groups. Tony Addy can boast ample experience from many international projects that he coordinated, and has been lecturing on community development for the past fifteen years. He currently lectures at universities in Prague and Helsinki.
Why did you decide collaborate with EKS on the Put Yourself into Integration! project? What captured your attention?
Marika: “I became interested in the project because it addresses the issue of integration from different angles, such as human rights and gender equality. I am glad to be able to take part in people’s education and shaping of their thinking in the area of integration of minorities and migrants.”
Berhanu: “I managed projects focusing on the research of migrant-oriented social policy and education at Praxis. I was thrilled to be able to take part in this project because I can take my work a bit further. Britain has been involved in community development for several years, while in the Czech Republic, it is a new topic. It is therefore necessary to educate people working in the social sector in this regard.”
Tony: “I have been working in Prague since 1998 although I have been lecturing mainly in Finland over the last three years. This was a unique opportunity to return to Prague once again. Working in Central and Eastern Europe is one of my priorities because I have close personal ties to this region. I enjoy organizing community education and training, in particular with this target group. I feel there is a great need there.”