Home / COCAGNE: exchanges and analysis of good practices of professionals fighting against housing deprivation and exclusion of migrants

COCAGNE is a project which brings together 6 European associations working with migrants – whether they have left their country for asylum, medical or economic reasons – or with groups experiencing different forms of social and economic exclusion.

The aim of this project is to support the participating NGOs to develop their skills, practices and quality of services, in order to better serve the groups they work with. To this aim, project partners will share and discuss practices, assess replication potential and capacity to adopt new work methods based on learning from one another. This exchange will benefit directly the members and teams of the participating NGOs – be them employees, volunteers etc. or various professions: lawyers, town planners, architects, social workers, professional integration officers, language teachers, sociologists, project coordinators, advocacy officers, etc.

Cocagne project is funded based on the Erasmus+ Program, supported by the European Commission.

The 6 participating associations are based in France, Italy, Romania, Poland and Germany (two associations). Field missions will take place in each of the 5 partner countries to facilitate knowledge exchange. As well as involve in the learning process other local NGOs and experiences of each country.

A guide will summarize practices mapped and shared across the project, touching on three main topics

– Asylum and access to fundamental rights;
– Vocational and linguistic integration;
– Housing improvement.

Cross-cutting themes will also be researched, such as participatory approaches, gender and equity, youth and advocacy.

For MKBT, this is an invaluable learning opportunity to be exposed to practices across other EU member states in the fields of housing and working with marginalized groups. It is also an opportunity to expand our knowledge and understanding of the particular challenges of migrant integration – which gives us the chance to see this phenomena from the perspective of the recipient countries as well, after having worked on researching and engaging diaspora/out-migrants of demographic shrinking areas in Romania, such as Făgăraș and its surroundings.

Meet the COCAGNE project partners:

1. Habitat-Cité, France

Web: www.habitat-cite.org

Habitat-Cité was created in 2003 by people from diverse backgrounds – urban planning, geography, architecture, photography – with the ambition of contributing to the resorption of slums and any type of unworthy habitat in France and around the world.

To carry out this mission, the founding members of Habitat-Cité felt that it was necessary to act both on the construction and rehabilitation of housing and on the economic and social aspects of exclusion.

2. Cooperativa Orso, Italy

Web: www.cooperativaorso.it

Orso is a social cooperative born in 1987 from the experience of the GiOC Association  – Youth Christian Workers with the aim of building a more just and supportive society, based on the primary value of the person, sustainable development and active citizenship.

It operates on the territory of the Piedmont Region, mainly in the Provinces of Asti, Cuneo and Turin with the aim of promoting equal access to labor market for marginalized groups and full citizenship of people in society.

3. Center for Independent Social Research e.V., Germany

Web: www.cisr-berlin.org

The Center for Independent Social Research (CISR) eV is a non-profit association that was founded in 2015 in Berlin by social scientists, experts and civil society actors. Its main goals are the support and implementation of social science research projects as well as the promotion of civil society developments in post-socialist countries.

CISR members develop civil society projects and address challenges that post-socialist societies are confronted with, capitalizing on research experience and scientific work.

4. Rule of Law Institute, Poland

Web: https://panstwoprawa.org

The Rule of Law Institute Foundation is a non-governmental organization created by a group of Polish and American lawyers connected to the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Lublin. The Institute was established in 2001. It promotes legal awareness in the society, continuing professional development of lawyers, promotion of the knowledge of the European law and of the idea of European integration, human rights protection, as well as legal representation and advice services to asylum seekers.

5. The Asylum Working Group Heidelberg eV, Germany

Web: www.asyl-heidelberg.de

Asylarbeitskreis Heidelberg e.V. has been founded in 1995 upon the first „wave“ of refugees from former Yugoslavia to Germany.

The organisation activity is largely based on volunteer members, – 142 people at present – having just one employee financed by the city of Heidelberg.

It is dedicated to supporting refugees in Heidelberg in all aspects of their new life – language translating company to different places, learning language skills, dealing with administrations, free time, law advise, integration into the job market etc.

6. Make Better Association (MKBT), Romania

Web:  www.mkbt.ro

MKBT is an interdisciplinary association reuniting professionals from the urban planning, social science and urban engineering working on urban regeneration issues. We have primarily worked so far in demographically shrinking communities, impacted by outmigration and economic restructuring. Housing deprivation of marginalized groups is one of the key areas of work of our NGO.  We have implemented housing advocacy initiatives in support of enabling legal environment for those living in informal settlements and are an active member of the Housing Coalition in Romania.

Photo: George Popescu, 2017, Valea Corbului