Work Package 5 of MATILDE aims to explore the impacts of migration at local level in 13 local cases studies that represent different types of rural and mountain areas across Europe. Italian team share their experience.

Matilde is working in thirteen regions across Europe through action research activities. The Italian team is working closely with two different case studies, one located in South Tyrol (eastern Alps) with the municipalities of Tesimo and Merano and the second located in the Metropolitan City of Turin (western Alps) with particular reference to the Bussoleno municipality. Each territory’s features and vocations have been determinant both to be chosen as case studies and to define the implemented action research activities. 

Empowerment by Soft Skills

In Merano and Tesimo, the activities on the ground focused on the TCNs labour integration in a multilingual and border region. The main objective was to encourage a new awareness about the role of foreign immigrants in the local economy, as to increase their opportunities to enter the local labour market. In this process, CARITAS appeared as a strategic local partner. Since 2015, CARITAS runs two-reception centres* for asylum seekers and one counselling centre** for immigrants.

The action-research activities involved several stakeholders: The Province of Bolzano, the third sector organizations, some companies and some migrants hosted in the Caritas reception centres. Two focus group, a training course to enable operators to do the check of competences and around ten check of competences were realized.

The check of competences is an innovative and practical tool to foster migrants’ employability and empowerment by detecting their soft skills. Its principal aim is to offer a complete picture of people’s skills and abilities to increase her/his opportunities to enter the job market, or, if already employed, their possibility to increase their professional status. It offers a good picture of a person attitudes, aspirations and competencies going beyond a normal CV. 

Experimenting the tool, the CARITAS operators reported a general satisfaction about its functionality, underling the first diffidence of migrants but as well the tool potentialities including the chance to construct a good trust-based relationship between the operator and the migrant. The tool turns out to be a strong technique to increase migrants profile knowledge while constructing a personal connection with the migrant. In certain cases has been perceived by the migrant as the possibility to express his/her ambitions and desires. Language challenges have been underlined as well.

Construction Workshop for Social Inclusion

The western Alps case study (Bussoleno) focused on the impact of labour and forced migrants’ settlement on housing patterns and socio-spatial transformation of villages in mountain and peri-urban rural areas. On this backdrop, several aspects have been considered: the dwelling, the use of public spaces, the local community’s ways of living and perceiving itself, and the connections between mountain areas and the rest of the province, with special regard to the capital city. The Bussoleno municipality appeared as a perfect case study due to its local history of migrants welcoming dating back to the early 1990s. In this case, the field action-research activities have been realized in strong collaboration with the third sector associations and with the Municipality. The activities involved a first in-depth analysis of the social patterns and habits of migrants living in the area and a practical construction workshop. In the first phase through the implementation of tools as mobility mapping and social mapping , important information have been collected on the social life and needs of migrant living in the area. Migrants underlined the lack of a meeting place where to meet and act their social life. To answer this need a site has been determined located strategically in respect to the migrant social habits and daily life. So then, through a construction workshop, a public wood benches site has been realized. Migrants have taken an active and participative role in the research step as in the construction moment itself. The workshop was confirmed to be an interesting tool for social inclusion thanks to the eating and sleeping together, the almost total absence of hierarchy of roles among the participants, the fact that everyone can contribute not only to the construction but also to the design and the fact that the wooden structure is something tangible and will remain for the community use.

*“Arnica” in Merano and “Noah” in Tesimo, hosting around 90 people in all, including families with minors, single persons and young single mothers.

** Moca” in Merano, that gives advice to around 1200 persons a year.