MINGLE works on both the level of the locals (Lcs) and the Third Country Nationals (TCNs). Working through local social agents, it aims to facilitate active citizenship by developing Social Capital (SC) and Human Capital (HC) for TCNs so as to improve integration capacity via interventions to 500 locals and 500 TCNs in 5 countries.
By SC we mean social networks or social relations that have productive benefits.
HC is defined as the stock of knowledge, habits, social & personality attributes, embodied in the ability to perform labour so as to produce economic value.
The most common elements of social capital (SC) that contribute to smooth integration include family/friend support and community connections. Moreover, SC and trust are considered to be catalysts for civic participation.
In addition, even though social capital facilitates integration, it cannot replace vital elements of human capital (HC) such as recognized skills and credentials, therefore such skills will also be provided in MINGLE project.
Reinforcement of HC will be achieved through:
1. Training on horizontal skills, such as language, intercultural communication as well as social and civic skills.
2. Visits to cultural sites as well as institutions, and participation in cultural activities, aiming to increase knowledge of the host culture and foster institutional trust.
Regarding SC, the project will work on the development of social networks and relationships between TCNs and locals, through innovative interventions such as:
1. Events (MINGLING experiences) aiming at the promotion of the common humanity element for TCNs and locals (including representatives of local authorities), through the sharing of stories, objects of common cultural significance, games etc. In these events TCNs will meet and bond with locals, thus accumulating SC in the form of networks and personal connections.
2. Mentoring: Locals will be matched with TCNs and mentoring sessions will be implemented, the content of which will be personalized, according to the needs of each mentee.
Mentoring has more benefits than merely contributing to the resolution of TCNs’ needs; it leads to a greater openness, a change of mentalities and an increase of social trust for both parties.
The MINGLE project responds to various calls for action, as expressed in the AMIF call priorities, including:
1) The need for promoting innovative actions to increase TCNs’ participation in educational and social activities, and cultural life. This is achieved through a range of activities that ultimately aim at active participation and citizenship, by the development of SC (mingling experiences and mentoring), HC (language, social & civic and intercultural workshops) and the building of social/political trust, which in turn, will eventually contribute to the smoothening of integration. Relevant resources (training materials. guides etc.) are developed for the implementation of the above activities.
2) The need to “foster knowledge- and experience-sharing and capacity-building on successful action to increase third country nationals’ participation in society, with a particular focus on social activities in the cultural life”. We respond to this call by attempting to develop mechanisms and innovative methodologies in order to generate SC and trust for TCNs, both of which are considered essential regarding active social participation.
3) The need to ‘’support capacity-building in the receiving communities, in particular for service-providers”. This need is tackled through the participation of locals and particularly representatives of local authorities in core activities of the project, which aim at training them in intercultural skills, mentoring etc.
In the short-medium term 1000 people (500 TCNs & 500 locals in 5 countries) will benefit through a range of innovative activities/workshops which are built on successful project results (Ħwawar u Fjuri, EMKIT, multicultural workshops for employers and language training using the CLIL methodology). The project’s legacy is ensured via the development of the “How to MINGLE” platform which provides a holistic approach for the stakeholders on how to replicate/repeat all the project’s actions in order to reinforce HC and SC for TCNs through interventions to both TCNs and locals. All the materials developed (facilitator guides, training materials, assessment tool, step-by-step guide for activities implemented by mentors etc) will also be available on the platform. It should also be noted that partners were carefully selected (partnership includes municipalities/organizations linked with municipalities, organizations with vast experience in delivering TCNs trainings and with well developed partners’ networks across EU) which ensures the dissemination of the HtM platform. Moreove the HtM platform will be presented at an international conference where key stakeholders will be invited. Finally, as we recognize the power of the Internet we aim to use Search Engine Optimization so that the HtM platform will be listed in the 1st page of results when specific keywords are searched. It is our ambition to make the HtM platform a reference point for stakeholders working on TCNs integration.