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Transcript of Munich 15-16/12
The prevention service of Anderlecht
- Multidisciplinary team :
- total of workers : 101 (august 2016)
Roma and prevention service
Initial findings "of the field"
3 Years of trial and one-shot initiatives :
2014: Pivotal year
Successes and limitations of the approach
Our vision of intercultural mediation
How to integrate intercultural mediators in local administrations
An obstacle course
75% "in the street"
=> Observations mainly " from the street"
* Creating a " project manager " job in the prevention service
* Systematic collaboration with "Le Foyer" and its intercultural mediators
* Awareness sessions for prevention workers
* Developing support "on the field"
* Complaints of non-Roma residents about Roma's occupation of public places and lifestyle : public cleanliness, gatherings, scrap dealers, noise, ...
* In the reports, never was heard Roma's voices. As if they were inaudible. Only objects, never subjects.
=>Even professionals of prevention service had difficulties to communicate: language barrel, prejudices, ...
They were "by the side" of the (non-Roma) inhabitants. They shared the same point of view
* Roma families weren't considered as legitimate inhabitants. Seen as "intruders" by older inhabitants.... but even inthe prevention service (as the rest of administration)
=> The service was not linked with the Roma community.
* Encountering "LE FOYER ASBL": association where Roma intercultural mediators are implemented in BCR
* 2012: "Info sessions" for Roma community (employment, schooling, ...)
* Integration of Roma children into animations
* Awareness session about Roma reality for prevention service in 2013
* Valuation and participation of the Roma community during communal events
=> Development of an action plan "For Roma inclusion" validated by the college on 03/12/2014.
=> "One gauge how advanced ethics of a society is, only in terms of the fate of minorities in their midst
Between 2005 and 2014:
- Romanian community growth of
- Bulgarian community growth of
- Central and Eastern Europe community: growth of
* Anderlecht, one of the 19 'districts' of Brussels Capital Region (BCR)
* Brussels, second most "cosmopolitan" city in the world after Dubaï.
62% of its inhabitants are born out of Belgium (Paris 25%). IMO report 2015
* In Belgium, 1/3 newcomers live in Brussels (+- 110 000 people in 2010)
* Anderlecht = 118 412 inhabitants
* Demographic changes these past 10 years :
* Changes visible to the naked eye (shops, public space occupation, places of worship, ...)
=> New arrivals. New "ways of life" rejected by older inhabitants (even foreigners themselves)
=> Cultural shocks
* /!\ No ethnic stats in Belgium but Le Foyer's evaluation of Roma presence in BCR (2014)
The administration of Anderlecht:
: finance, living environment, social-economic affairs, community affairs (French/Flemish community), Social cohesion and prevention, demography, public buildings and housing
- Prevention service part of the
"Social cohesion and prevention department"
- Prevention service has a
within a local administration:
* local administrations are
financed by regional and federa
l administrations to develop local prevention projects to respond to local safety/cohesion/integration issues: prevention services
* prevention service is a kind of decentralized agency located
close to the citizen
* prevention service works around a lot of
(living, housing, use of public space, safety,...) with multiple internal and external partners
--------> specific status creates more flexibility, an outsider position, certain independence, multidisciplinary team,strong network, ...
= advantage to integrate intercultural mediators
= but creates obstacles as well: No hierarchic power, decentralized, seen as separated part of the municipality,, ...
The prevention Service:
* Situational prevention (deterring presence )
* Social prevention ( social development, fight against school dropout ,actions on riskfactors
and protective factors of delinquency , ...)
urban stewards, social street workers, school mediators, mediators in neighborly disputes, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, criminologists,... working in prevention projects about school dropout, integration of newcomers, polarization, radicalization, drug prevention, prevention of youth delinquency, use of the public space, ...
* For sure, "Roma issue" is on the table of the prevention service
* Special links with intercultural mediators of Le Foyer.
* Working with Roma intercultrual mediators that have incontestable skills and knowledge participate to improve the Roma image in our service
* The service increased links with Roma community of Anderlecht:
More Roma children know the animators and educators
Some families are followed by our social workers
* But mostly, bad impression to preach for convinced workers of prevention. Those who did'nt want to link with Roma inhabitants did not so.
* The prejudices of prevention workers have not disappeared
* Lack of convinced device's coordinators (we acted as if it had already been won)
=> In a structure as pyramidal as a municipality administration, it is very important to have chiefs and coordinators "by our side".
* Huge dependency on intercultural mediators of "Le Foyer".
Other agents in contact with Roma population (demography, social help, ...) wanted "pratical results" : facilitating relation with citizen (interpretation, cooperation, ...).
- A step by step approach:
These lessons on the implementation of the action plan in our service allowed us to initiate the next step of the project:
engage intercultural mediators in the local administration and create a specific service
1/ A municipality is an
big thing, difficult to change direction
Autonomous departments, procedures, ...
=> Need to target key spaces: departments in contact with our population.
=> We did 3: schools, population departments, CPAS (social help).
2/ Municipality values:
- It's a
institution which must ensure
Why to favor a particular minority
More so in Anderlecht where hundreds of communities live? How to ensure equal treatment? Affirmative actions are not anchored in the administrative culture (even if it exist)
3/ Anderlecht is a
municipality. Lack of financial possibilities
=> Taking advantage of the air of time: Terrorist attacks in Brussels ! Fear of a fracturing of Brussels's society (very multiculti)!
=> Political response of Brussels authorities: Urgently inject money for social cohesion projects
=> Avaible regional fundings
- Our approach of intercultural mediation is based on M. COHEN EMERIQUE approach:
1) 3 level actions:
* Relay mediation:
inform, traduce, accompagnate, dispel misunderstandings, ...
* Resolving conflitcs of value mediation:
search for compromises between identities. For both side
* Mediation as a "tool for social changel"
initiate innovative actions ( making "collective projects")
2) social work :
Must be done by "social workers" with abilities to "understand migrant position". Professionalization
=> Professional skills/ Life skills
3) "Neutral" position
: Intercultural Mediators working for institutions as municipalities are'nt in a real "neutral" position.
=> In that case, they must be in a peripheral position without "decision-making power". But they must have a place. They must be listened by the institution.
Some powerful breaks
1/ Decision makers (political level):
In districts of Anderlecht, more and more intercommunity tensions. Polarization of speeches. Awareness of politicians these pasts years. Lack of municipal initiatives.
=> An intercultural mediation service can be seen as a visible symbolic response of authorities to support intercultural dialogue.
2/ Chief of service (administrative level):
In administrations, integration of new disposals, new cooperation levels should not revolutionize service organization.
- No giving extra-work
- No questioning their authority/ management
- No additional charges
3/ Operators ("field" level):
For municipal agents in direct contact with Roma population, interventions of intercultural mediators should bring "added-value" as practical advantages ( translations, ...), better cooperation with families (less school absences, ...) and "time saving".
An intercultural mediators service project in Anderlecht : MixCité 113
* Oct 2016: Regional authorities. Call for projects "aimed at improving intercultural dialogue, supporting diversity and social cohesion"
=> Introduction of "MixCité 113" project for 2017 (one year project)
* "MixCité 113": project of recruiting 2 intercultural mediators working in the district of Cureghem (the poorest district of the municipality) to improve links with Roma and Doma (> Middle East) communities.
=> proximity actions at a district scale :
- Intercultural basic service; local interpreting service; intercultural local permanence; public writer; physical accompaniment to offices ; ...
- Intercultural basic service at "Foreign Office" of the municipality
- Intercultural mediation between groups in tension in the district
- Local initiatives (collective projects) in primary schools to improve links between Roma/ Doma children, school, Roma/ Doma parents.
- Animations for Roma/ Doma children and teenagers ("Discovering Belgium" tours, public cleanliness animations, cultural animations, ...
6500/ km2 (In some areas, up to 25000)
33% foreigners. Up to 50+% in some districts
36 years old
25% of population is under 18
4th poorest municipality of Belgium (4th lowest income/ inhabitant)
Unemployment rate 25% /Young unemployment rate: 40%
12% of single-parent families
34% of children live in families without work income
- 10% of
in 2010 (9th in BCR)
(mostly east and south origin) and
- Huge growth of new
with some countries highly represented (Romania, Poland, ...)
- Arrival of new populations in
Presence of Roma population cristallizes complaints about newcomers. An anti-Roma petition gathered 1200 signatures in 2014
Municipality of Anderlecht
15- 16/12 Munich
New populations in non mixed districts. Up to +500% newcomers in some areas of Anderlecht this past 10 years.
- Low scale initiative:
The plan was mainly focused on prevention service. Attempting to aware social workers of prevention service and impulse initiatives towards Roma population.
The planificated actions have been thought with intercultural mediators of "Le Foyer". The majority of actions involved participation of Roma mediators of "Le Foyer"
- 2 level actions:
"field" actions (animations, ...); second line actions (integration of municipality in transnational exchange network, ...)
Prevention Service- Evaluation and development cell:
Project manager "intercultural relations and welcoming newcomers"
Municipality of Anderlecht
0499 867 158
How to convince a local administration?
The will of initiate specific social work for Roma population is not a political decision, at the beginning.
=> Necessity of "lobbying" decision makers to develop specific actions for Roma community
=> This approach involves a self-questioning capacity for the institution
=> THE BIG CHALLENGE
=> It's a bottom/ up process. If intercultural mediation make relations with users more fluent, field operators will accept intercultural mediation as a "practical tool" and this approach may be perpetrated in the municipality.
* The "MixCité113" project must be one step further to create a
sustainable intercultural social
service in the municipality.
=> This service should be able to reach the majority of communities too far of belgian administrative culture.