Legambiente is the leading partner of the INVOLVE project (AMIF 2017 AG INTE_821666 — INtegration of migrants as VOLunteers for the safeguarding of Vulnerable Environments). This project is co-financed by the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission through the AMIF — Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
The project started in January 2019 and aims to enhance the inclusion of third-country nationals by involving them in voluntary activities, for example, those targeted at environmental heritage recovery and improvement. The objective is to bring third country and European host country citizens together around these activities and build safer and more cohesive communities.
The project builds on and explores a model of social inclusion that is adjusted to small, medium and larger cities. In this context, local institutions play an important role alongside civil society, host country citizen communities and third country nationals, with these groups working together to contribute to territorial improvement.
The model will be tested in seven pilot locations: Rovigo, Paestum and Scicli in Italy; Veynes and Communauté de communes du Pays de Saint-Aulaye in France; and the Pankow and Neukölln districts in Berlin, Germany. These areas represent small, medium and large towns where numerous migrants have resided for some time now, but are not yet fully integrated into the social fabric of their host communities.
To achieve its overall objectives, the project is driven by 3 main components:
- Raising awareness in the host community through local community hubs. These are meeting places for sharing social and personal experiences, identifying critical issues and shaping common actions together with third-country nationals to rehabilitate and improve the local area.
- Capacity building among local authorities. In pilot areas, local administrative capacity will be strengthened in the areas of long-term planning, creating means of inclusion for foreigners and building a sense of community belonging.
- Immigrant involvement. The active participation of third-country nationals and host communities in inclusive voluntary activities will foster a greater sense of belonging and citizenship for all. All participants will simultaneously contribute to urban rehabilitation, further reinforcing the cohesion of the local culture.
The INVOLVE project lasts 30 months and will involve:
- 4 partners from 3 European countries: the Legambiente (coordinator) from Italy, Solidarités Jeunesses, CCVICS (Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service) from France and ICJA (Volunteer exchange worldwide) from Germany
- 7 local community hubs
- 700 citizens, including Europeans and third-country nationals, who will participate in environmental volunteer activities
- 35 local authorities involved in training on inclusion policies and practices, community networking and conflict management
14 territorial rehabilitation activities
- 7 international volunteer camps
- 10,000 people reached by the project