Serving for inclusion in Alkmaar

Ping Pong Alkmaar

The number of refugees is on the rise worldwide. Most refugees seek harbour in neighbouring countries. Since 2015, Europe too has dealt with increasing numbers of asylum seekers. 2.4 million refugees. Finding asylum is a major step for a refugee, but the next one, of integration and inclusion defines whether these individuals will be able to move forward from the trauma they have just lived to lead a dignified life.

In parallel, the perception of refugees locally is ranges widely. In the Netherlands, a 2016 action plan focuses on awareness and prevention of discrimination against specific groups, such as the country's Muslim, black and Jewish communities. Yet at the same time, the Netherlands also extended the minimum residence period required for naturalization from five to seven years. We are seeing mixed messages and policies, shadowing divided opinions, that are at times welcoming, while at the same time, becoming more conservative.

The unknown creates fear and bias. A number of recent studies, as well as, European statistics, highlight a notable gap between migrant employment situation. Poverty, social exclusion and living conditions are a real issue of integration and so is bias, prejudice.

DBF recipient: Ping Pong Alkmaar
Project leader: Mark Smith
Project start date: 01-06-2019
Project area: Alkmaar, the Netherlands

Ping Pong Alkmaar aims to provide a fun, active, safe and inclusive space for the whole community of Alkmaar and its surrounding.

The project works closely with the Alkmaar Council and local refugee support groups, to address the issue of refugee integration in the area. The weekly sessions offer, as primary identity, a shared common interest to build relations and break down prejudice, fears and myths about migrant and native-born, alike. The project also hopes to provide refugees with tools for integration, a safe space to feel included, an opportunity to learn and improve, a social network, a regular time slot for interaction and an opportunity to improve language skills.

Contribution to the Global Goals

Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

Target 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

  • Individual Change
  • Institutional Change
  • Behaviour or attitude
    • 80% of programme participants and their families report seeing an improvement in attitudes towards them and others from different countries
    • 100 direct and indirect supported people display more awareness and challenge their former bias towards other communities
    • Include persons of migrant background, disability and women in leadership position within the club
    • The decision body of the club is made publicly available and includes a minimum of one person from a migrant background and one person with disabilities and works towards equal gender representation
  • Knowledge and Skills
    • 100% of regular participants with migrant background have improve their language skills during the project life cycle
    • At least 5 regular participants in the club either have a clear understanding of pathways to leadership positions or a development plan within the project life cycle
  • Circumstance, quality of life or well-being
    • 30 supported people report making friends, having fun, feeling good and looking forward to seeing their fellow participants in training
    • 80% of supported people report having made friends and feeling part of the community and identify with the leadership of the club
    • The club can share good practise examples of youth expressing their feeling of integration within the club
  • Weekly session of 2 hours will take place over 3 years (40 weeks per year, linked to school term time)
  • Annual tournaments and festivals for all are organised
  • A safe space for dialogue involving the participants and their families is in place
  • Showcases takes place in Alkmaar’s community centres
  • Regular promotional activities and awareness raising sessions are created and disseminated, together with the participants
  • Language support is offered on demand to regular participants
  • Hold regular official club management meetings that are recorded
  • Communicate regularly and transparently about decision making and promote diversity throughout this communication

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