Crisis what? How migrant-led-advocacy is the key we needed all along
Over 300 people from 39 nationalities have created solutions with PLACE since 2017. Within this diverse group we met refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants and European nationals touched by migration. The reasons that brought them to Europe are countless – education, economic opportunity, safety. Yet the reason for coming to PLACE generally revolves around one concept – to demonstrate the value they as newcomers can bring to host society.
In October 2019, the European Programme for Integration and Migration released a study on the challenges and opportunities for migrant-led-advocacy in Europe that resonates with PLACE’s work in this field. The study outlines the added-value migrant voices bring to policy making and solution finding, meanwhile citing ways actors across sectors can engage with newcomer leaders in a meaningful way.
“Migrant advocates can sense-check policies, contribute innovative solutions, identify gaps and connect to their larger communities. Furthermore, and because of their proximity to the realities of their communities, they are often also ‘first responders’ to migrant’ needs and priorities, and already engaged in work to improve the lives of migrants on the ground.”
Migrant-led-advocacy on migrant-specific issues is just the tip of the iceberg. Newcomers are often at the frontlines of other transversal subjects – including climate change, access to education and gender. When migrants can become thought leaders in strategic networks, their first hand experiences can create, practical, applicable and innovative solutions that have a scope far beyond the migrant community.