PDO is considered to be the first step towards integration. It is about preparing refugees to understand the culture, laws and lifestyle of their receiving communities; and also informing the host-community about the refugees’ background and their expectations. A group of four states got a chance to see this first hand in Istanbul over the summer.
EU-FRANK has a platform for Member States (MS) to meet, discuss and share their national practices in respect of Cultural Orientation delivered to resettled refugees – the PDO Network. After the first meeting, an Expert Exchange opportunity came into light when Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands expressed their interest in meeting, discussing and learning from each other’s Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) programs for refugees.
The Netherlands offered to share their national PDO program and in April 2019 they all met in the Hague to learn about the Netherlands Resettlement Programme and to have a deep insight of the theory behind the choice of their specific programme for PDO.
In moving from theory to practice, EU-FRANK arranged for a study visit in Turkey over two days for the same MS (Ireland, Italy and Switzerland) to observe the delivery of the Dutch PDO in action and the use of the materials and strategies they learned about in the Hague.
Hassina Kiboua from Ireland, who participated in both exchanges, was very positive to how much the combined theory and practice opportunities increased her knowledge.
“It was great to see how the PDO trainers skilfully addressed difficult topics such as LGBT rights and polygamy in a non-threatening way, all the while involving refugees in the process so they felt this was important for them” – says Hassina.
The interactive strategies used by the Dutch trainers were also appreciated by both refugees and experts: “they made it possible to interactively learn key social concepts, and observing it in practice gives also a better understanding as to how these tools can be used”, complements Hassina.
In the beginning of October, another group will have an exchange to see how Switzerland works with their PDO program. Stay tuned!
Author: Gabriela Prado
Last modified: 2019-10-08