In activities promoting integration, the desired objectives can be best achieved when the authorities and organisations regard the promotion of integration as a joint task. Cooperation is based on equal partnership, investment in development work, shared planning forums and resources for operations. It is also important that cooperation is based on a clear division of roles and responsibilities as well as agreements.
The work carried out by organisations and volunteers is a valuable resource in promoting integration. Partnerships between organisations and the authorities increase the effectiveness of the work and can, for example, offer new municipal residents not only statutory services but also more extensive support for integration.
Municipalities can support the work of organisations by providing grants and training and communicating openly and proactively about their processes. Consulting organisations and volunteers is important when planning support for organisations. Organisations depend on volunteer work, but they also need financial support to organise and coordinate their activities.
In municipalities, organisations can be invited to participate in drawing up municipal integration programmes, working groups promoting integration and planning services and action plans. It is possible to build communication channels between regional operators to share information regularly. Meetings can be arranged, for example, between the educational and social services and organisations. Organisations and other local operators can also make use of use national channels in their cooperation.
Organisations bring attention to grassroots issues
Organisations can submit important information to the authorities based on their observations in the field. Because of their reach and language skills, organisations can also send official messages to immigrants and foreign-language speakers and others that the authorities cannot necessarily reach. At best, the exchange of information and cooperation between the authorities and organisations results in complementary services. Cooperation also helps to direct the support where there is an identified need for it.
Organisations may also have special expertise in issues, such as honour-related violence, trafficking in human beings and mediation, for which the municipality does not offer separate services. Low-threshold activities by organisations strengthen the inclusion of foreign-language speaking municipal residents and support integration.
Kotoutumisentukena.fi makes low-threshold activities visible
Kotoutumisentukena.fi is a tool for cooperation and information exchange for those involved in integration. The service provides information on how to provide or find low-threshold activities that support integration as well as events and training intended for employees and volunteers working in integration.
The service works best when it is introduced by multiple regional operators who commit themselves to using it. Organisations and low-threshold operators have an interest in keeping the information on their activities up-to-date if they know that the local authorities are committed to using the service regularly with foreign-language customers.
Multiple operators in a region should decide whether to use the kotoutumisentukena.fi service. In addition, the use of the service should be discussed regularly in network and staff meetings so that the use of the service becomes a regular part of the activities.
A municipality can launch the service as part of its integration programme measures, which strengthens the role of the third sector and liberal adult education in the promotion of integration as a whole and the range of municipal services.
The toimeksi.fi online service together with its regional websites also highlights the work of civic organisations and their activities. The website compiles the activities and events of communities and organisations.