Since January 2015 IPOW has been Head of UK Network for the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF), an inter-governmental organisation which promotes inter-cultural dialogue at the level of civil society across the 42 member states of the Union for the Mediterranean. The ALF is funded by the member states (who also constitute the ALF’s Board Of Governors) and the EU. The Foundation is based in Alexandria (Egypt), and runs a variety of programmes in the fields of education, culture and media, with a focus on groups such as youth, women and migrants.

In addition to the high-level diplomatic and lobbying activities of the ALF head office, and a series of centrally managed events and programmes, the ALF brings together a network of around 4000 civil society organisations across Europe, North Africa and the Near East. IPOW leads a UK network of over 100 members from a wide range of sectors, for whom we aim to organise a series of events and capacity-building activities, as well as to act as hub for information sharing and a means to connect with wider audiences and potential partners both nationally and regionally. We hope to strengthen the ALF UK network by providing good opportunities for active participation and collaboration between members, by raising public awareness of the importance of inter-cultural dialogue in the region, and by engaging more widely with international partners and diaspora communities in the UK.

Membership of the ALF networks is free of cost. To join, please follow the instructions for completing the online application form at http://www.annalindhfoundation.org/join-national-network . Alternatively you may contact IPOW for an informal discussion about network membership or related matters.

ALF Refugee Working Toolkit

Background

During our National Network meeting of June 2016, our members in attendance overwhelmingly voted to make a statement on the Refugee Crisis that was escalating across Europe due to war in Syria. The members felt they wanted a solid favourable single message that all ALF UK members would stand by, and that they wanted to work towards a set of guiding principles for all members to operate to when working with refugees.

Network Intercultural Action

At a meeting in October 2016, attendees at our Network Intercultural Action meeting for ALFUK, work-shopped the ideas and guidance they wanted to have core to our activity. The day was introduced with a presentation from Good Chance Theatre Company, who had been delivering Theatre Practice at the refugee camp in Calais, known as The Jungle. The talk focused attendees on the issues and pitfalls of trying to establish meaningful connections with refugees in often challenging circumstances, highlighting the need to be prepared, understand and support those vulnerable, often very young, people facing a multitude of barriers and basic human needs challenges on a daily basis. As a means of developing discussion in the workshops, this enabled our members to really think about key guiding principles for anyone working in this field.

Principles of Working with Refugees

The resulting Principles of working with Refugees for ALF UK is now available to download here

Use of this tool

It is envisaged that the Principles of Working with Refugees should be the guiding principles that Network Members use in their work with refugees. As a first instance guide to enabling members to understand the complexities but also to provide a safe and reassuring space when beginning any practice. These principles can form part of applications for funding for this work, or a framework for developing delivery mechanisms to ensure the best possible outcomes for refugees on projects.

Along with this document, our network members, and partners in our NIA programme have also provided access to a range of documents that can be used to support their work, and some Best Practice Principles for working with Refugees have also been shared. These documents form the basis of the toolkit. The aim is to grow electronic documents that can be useful guidance or tools for anyone in our membership working in this field.

The documents are available to download here:

Use of these tools
These tools provide a sound basis for the reason of intercultural dialogue working, especially in the case of refugees. They are intended to support members to understand the wider context of the work they do, how it fits within a, EU framework and how that can support their activity. It can also form the basis of work-planning or applications for funding for their activities.

The Best Practice Principles also provide useful hints and information to working successfully and meaningfully with refugees, both children and young people as well as adults. They are intended as guidance documents in support of activity, and are by means limitless. As more useful documents become available, our intention is to add them here for distribution to members, and enable members to also share any documents or guidance they may develop themselves at a later date, that may prove useful to others.