E.g., 10/26/2020
E.g., 10/26/2020

Driving Migrant Inclusion through Social Innovation: Lessons for Cities in a Pandemic

Reports
September 2020

Driving Migrant Inclusion through Social Innovation: Lessons for Cities in a Pandemic

The rapid arrival of millions of asylum seekers and migrants in Europe in 2015–16 forced cities both large and small to rethink their approach to immigrant inclusion. Many localities, recognizing the newcomers’ diverse backgrounds and at times complex needs, began to experiment with innovative models of service provision, including by working with nongovernmental actors and involving community members more directly in the design and implementation of projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced European cities to confront a whole new set of challenges. Among them, how to support residents—including refugees and other migrants—amid social-distancing orders, all while public services operate at reduced capacity and in the face of likely budget cuts.

This MPI Europe-International Organization for Migration (IOM) report explores key lessons cities can draw from the social innovation that accompanied the 2015–16 arrivals to help them weather the challenges brought by the pandemic. The study’s findings come in part from interviews conducted with representatives of municipalities and civil-society organizations in Austria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Spain.  

This research is part of the ADMin4ALL project on supporting social inclusion of vulnerable migrants in Europe, implemented by IOM and funded by the European Commission. For more information about the project, see: https://admin4all.eu/.

Table of Contents 

1  Introduction

2  Social Innovation: Hype or Hope?

3  Social Innovation in Diverse Cities
A. Addressing the Needs of the Most Vulnerable and Hardest to Reach
B. An Ear on the Ground: Mobilizing and Sustaining Community Engagement
C. Joining Forces in Testing Times: Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships
D. Co-Creation: Involving Beneficiaries in Designing and Providing Services

4  Final Reflections: Ongoing Challenges and Lessons for the COVID-19 Crisis