Civil society a key player in integration

17.08.20 | News
Yadid Levy/
A new Nordic report “Learning to live in a new country – everyday social integration” shows that civil society plays an important role in ensuring the integration of refugees and migrants, especially when it comes to establishing networks and contacts as a basis for new social relations. According to the report, this increases job opportunities and strengthens the sense of belonging in their new home country.

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ integration programme contributes to and supports the development of methods and raises awareness of civil society’s contribution to integration in the Nordic Region. This has resulted in the publication of the report “Learning to live in a new country – everyday social integration” produced by Nordregio for the Nordic Welfare Centre.

Civil society is an important player 

The first section of the report sheds light on the importance and variety of civil society initiatives that promote integration. Organisations such as the Red Cross offer a wide range of activities including language cafes, mentoring programmes, and assistance with practical matters. Overall, organisations help to establish additional arenas for interpersonal encounters and thus increased cohesion. This is particularly important for integration in areas with a low population density, where it is beneficial for established players to be responsible for integration in the social arena.


Co-operation between public authorities and civil society

The second section sheds light on how civil society and public authorities can work together in the field of integration and on what characterises co-operation in the different Nordic countries. Some emphasise the active involvement of refugees in civil society, while others stress the efforts of civil society organisations to reduce social isolation.