What Design Thinking can do for the integration of migrants and refugees

The project aims at providing youth workers with practical tips for using Design Thinking to reduce anxiety and fear in order to integrate migrants and refugees in local communities. It will result in developing a handbook ’What Design Thinking can do for the integration of migrants and refugees’ which can be used by both management and entrepreneurship teachers as an example of practical implementation of DT method, and by persons and institutions dealing with migrants which search for new methods for their activity.

The project consortium includes: Graceland Foundation (Poland), Eduplius (Lithuania) and the University of Vigo (Spain).

CONTEXT/BACKGROUND: The „What design thinking can do for integration of migrants and refugees” project is carried out by organizations from Poland, Lithuania and Spain. The partnership is composed of two young non-governmental organizations and a university that acts an expert institution. The project is held between 1 December 2018 and 30 November 2019. 

OBJECTIVES: The project aims at equipping youth workers with practical tips and tools for using Design Thinking to integrate migrants and refugees. 

PARTICIPANTS: Direct participants: youth workers from partner organizations (8 persons), Indirect participants: youth (20 persons), migrants and refugees (6 persons), academic teachers (2 persons), other institutions dealing with migrant issues, local authorities, educational institutions, local communities (100 persons) 

ACTIVITIES/METHODOLOGY: (1) staff training on Design Thinking, (2) equipping 2 DT mini-labs, (3) activities addressed to youth in order to develop DT solutions as regards integration of migrants and refugees in local communities, (4) testing prototypes with migrants, (5) developing handbook „What Design Thinking can do for migrants and refugees”, (6) four dissemination events, (7) two transnational partner meetings, (8) project management – project administration, managing finance, monitoring activities, promotion, evaluation, dissemination. 

RESULTS: 8 Design Thinking workshop moderator certificates, 20 youth involved in elaborating scenarios, 6 migrants involved in testing, 100 participants of dissemination activities, 6 scenarios, 1 handbook, 2 DT labs. Other results: acquiring knowledge and skills in using DT methods by youth workers, enhancing creativity and communication skills of youth taking part in local activities, positive changes declared by migrants as regards integration issues, developing institutional capacity and international scope of partner institutions; 

IMPACT: developing cooperation with NGOs, local authorities and other organizations taking part in dissemination activities, developing capacity, and international visibility of partner organizations, developing and implementing the „third mission” of UVigo through its cooperation with non-governmental organizations, developing a network of organizations dealing with migrant and refugees issues, disseminating innovative teaching methods, possible impact on creating immigration policies in partner countries, impact on reaching the objectives of European policies (e.g. Strategy 2020) as well as aims and priorities of Erasmus+ program. 

LONGER TERM RESULTS: The developed handbook “What Design Thinking can do for integration of migrants and refugees” will be the first that applies DT to activities related to migrants. The handbook can be used by both management and entrepreneurship teachers, as an example of practical implementation of DT method, and by persons and institutions dealing with migrants which search for new methods for their activity. The book will be open licensed. Youth workers are supposed to use the knowledge and skills acquired during training to run various educational and other statutory activities or to introduce changes in organization management.