The project SAFE is co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by Forum réfugiés-Cosi from France, as project coordinator, and European partners:

  • Federation of Protestant Mutual Aid (FEP)
  • French Red Cross (CRF)
  • Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA)
  • Italian Federation of Protestant Churches (FCEI)
  • Italian Red Cross (CRI)
  • Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED)
  • Oxfam Italy

In its Projected global resettlement needs 2021, UNHCR estimated that 1.44 million refugees are in need of resettlement. In that context, expanding access to safe and legal pathways to third countries is urgently needed to support host countries facing large numbers of refugees and expand protection space for refugees. Private sponsorship scheme has been more and more used in the EU member states, including in France and in Italy, to develop complementary pathways and has appeared as a new option to provide durable solutions for the integration of refugees. Although resettlement provides a qualitative support framework to ensure protection and integration to refugees which need to be supported and strengthened, private sponsorship schemes and complementary pathways represent an innovative and additional solution to address these increasing needs.  Building a global and coordinated framework is critical to ensure that lessons learnt and best practices from each initiative are shared in order to ensure qualitative, protective and complementary programs, guaranteeing sufficient human and financial resources to allow adequate reception and support.

At the European level, the SAFE project intends to facilitate the exchange of experiences, expertise and practices among organizations involved in the implementation of private sponsorship schemes and resettlement programs and to strengthen a European dynamic. The project will identify the capacity building needs in private sponsorship schemes expressed by partners and associates thanks to the organization of workshops. European and international sponsor organizations will be invited to participate these workshops. Based on these needs, exchanges of practices meetings, webinars and look and learn visits will be organized amongst partners and other actors such as organizations involved in resettlement programs or willing to be involved in private sponsorship schemes. These dialogues will intend to find operational and concrete responses to the difficulties faced in the implementation of complementary pathways and private sponsorship schemes. They will also encourage and foster collaborations between partners and associates. An online platform will be created and managed by Forum réfugiés-Cosi and its partners building on the different experiences. It will provide an open and trusted learning environment where technical, operational and conceptual issues linked to the implementation of private sponsorship schemes can be discussed and addressed. The platform will also address the needs of reliable data on complementary pathways and private sponsorship schemes by collecting and highlighting researches, specific data on complementary pathways and methodologies implemented on a global scale.

At a national level, discussions around PSS will be organized in France and in Italy. In France the aim is to enhance cooperation between organizations involved in complementary pathways, private sponsorship schemes and resettlement programs. The platform will facilitate discussions between organizations, encouraging the exchange of experiences, in order to develop common recommendations on the development of private sponsorship schemes. In Italy, with the mentorship of the Canadian associate partner, the aim is to design an Italian community sponsorship program. Starting from an in-depth study of the existing schemes in other European and international countries and through focus groups with Italian relevant stakeholders, the partners will identify key issues and adapt the mechanism to the Italian framework. The model will be discussed with key actors, and publicly presented in a national conference.

Furthermore, the partnership will look further into the links between family reunification and private sponsorship schemes. Two national mappings will identify the involved and interested actors and their training needs which will be addressed with capacity building sessions and trainings. Two national toolboxes related to the sponsorship scheme and family reunification will be designed. In addition, family reunification cases will directly be processed in France and in Italy, with specific support to sponsor organizations. In order to explore another complementary pathway, a network of three operational information and support university desks will be created in France, Italy and Morocco to improve young refugees’ access to higher education. Training material for refugees and for administrative staff of involved universities will be developed.

Finally, three positions papers will be elaborated and disseminated, one by the international platform and one by each national platform. All deliverables elaborated as part of the project will be sent to the relevant interlocutors on private sponsorship schemes within the European institutions, national authorities and other relevant stakeholders. The final European seminar and the national events will present and disseminate the findings of the project, the recommendations and the tools elaborated.

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Co funded bythe European Union