The Project Topic 2019

"Life of Refugees in Host Communities: Reducing Inequalities and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies"

According to UNHCR, around 75% of refugees worldwide do not live in official camps but in rural or urban areas in private homes or self-organized settlements. Compared to camps, the care and protection situation of refugees is different. It is more difficult for involved organizations to reach their target group, and municipalities are increasingly demanded to take care of the protection-seeking population and find ways to reconcile the interests and needs of local residents and refugees. However, a conflict-ridden confrontation and a lack of dialogue between refugees and the receiving society/ community can jeopardize social cohesion, which may already be fragile anyway. Therefore, sustainable action strategies at economic, political and social level are needed to facilitate peaceful coexistence of locals and migrant populations.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework to be used to explore the topic. One reason to examine the SDGs in the context of flight and migration is to exchange views on the significance and relevance of this global agreement for the sustainable development of our world and a profiled social work in this field of action.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, focuses in particular on strengthening and assisting vulnerable groups, i.a. Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants. With regard to migration, the declaration emphasizes the potential of migrants to make a positive contribution to sustainable development; that everyone, regardless of their status, deserves humane treatment and the recognition of their human rights; and that the resilience of the host societies should be strengthened.

In the project year 2019, the project group will deal with the community development approach, taking in consideration the needs and interests of refugees as well as of the (often neglected) host communities. The project will examine how the integration of refugees needs to be shaped outside the camp context in order to exploit the potential of promoting social cohesion and a dignified life for everyone. Different approaches, conditions for success and required competencies of participating actors will be analyzed. Refugees will be perceived as active, self-governing actors and their individual and communal action and coping strategies, such as the development of self-help and self-governing structures, will be considered. In addition, the answers and strategies of local, national and international actors to support the host communities in their integration tasks will be analyzed. Intercultural and interreligious aspects for the practical work in this field of action will be included. The role of academic social work in this field of action will be elaborated.

This will be done in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 10 "Reducing Inequalities" and 16 "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions". SDG No. 10 identifies the goal to reduce inequality in and between countries. All people should be empowered by 2030 regardless of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or other status, and their social, economic and political inclusion should be promoted (10.2). Notably, orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people should be facilitated. This is to be achieved, inter alia, by applying a well-planned and well-managed migration policy (10.7). The SDG 16 is dedicated to promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development that provide access to justice for all people and to efficient, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The project participants will address the following aspects:

  • Community development and conflict transformation to foster social cohesion

  • Agency of refugees in host communities

  • International, national and local response for refugees in the host communities