Forced displacement and refugee-host community solidarity (FOCUS)
- Contact person:
- Nahikari Irastorza
- The European Commission through the Horizon 2020 program
- Responsible at Malmö University:
- Nahikari Irastorza
- Project members:
- The Danish Red Cross
- Humboldt University of Berlin
- University of Zagreb
- University of Jordan
- Time frame:
- 01 January 2019 - 31 December 2021
About the projekt
65,6 million people currently live in forced displacement across the world, many of them in protracted refugee and displacement situations in neighbouring countries for long periods of time and even generations. In 2015 and 2016, the European Union experienced an unparalleled influx of more than 1 million migrants from Syria and other countries. The situation affects life trajectories of displaced people and poses multiple challenges for social, economic, urban and environmental services and for local investments and labour markets in host communities. Everyday living and social integration of refugees happens at the level of the local host communities. In many instances, refugees are integrated successfully into host communities but in other host communities, however, challenges and tensions arise related to reception and settlement of refugees, livelihoods, and resistance to integration of refugees from the host communities. The host communities may feel threatened by the arrival of considerable number of culturally different refugees in a short period of time. This threat can be real (e.g. crime, terrorism, jobs) or cultural/symbolic (e.g. cultural values, faith, upbringing of children, intrafamilial behaviours, etc.)
This project starts from the basic assumptions that forced migration to the European Union will continue in the future due to a number of different push and pull factors, that influx of refugees will influence the social, political and economic landscape of receiving societies, and that there are a variety of costs and benefits of integrating refugees in the host societies that are reflected in relational dynamics between the host and refugee communities.
Bearing these considerations in mind, the goal of FOCUS is to increase the understanding of and to provide effective and evidence-based solutions for the challenges of forced migration within host communities. By doing so, it also aims at contributing to increased tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and reduced radicalization across Europe and the Middle East. Based on a comprehensive mapping and trans-disciplinary, multi-site field research conducted in Jordan, Croatia, Germany and Sweden, FOCUS explores the socio-psychological dimensions of refugee and host-community relations and analyses the socio-economic integration of refugees and the consequences of this in host societies.
This knowledge is then used to transform and strengthen existing promising solutions for social and labour market integration. The integration solutions will be pilot tested in at least five European countries by governmental and non-governmental end-users. The solutions are finally brought together in the Refugee and Host Community Toolbox, which will support policy makers, municipal actors, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in responding to the needs of both refugees and host communities and thereby act as agents of change in this field.