Building Bridges Statement

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.

Case studies are successful implemented examples sharing with you what is going on in the SCI movement on the topic of refugees and migration.


Festival dedicated to the topic of freedom of movement and struggle against diverse forms of racism

When:  3 days in July, ongoing since 2009

Contact / Source: SCI Italy

Marco Stefanelli (Laboratorio53),

    Context and idea
    The 3-days festival No Border Fest is conceived as a space for workshops, public debates, roundtables, human library, video/photo- exhibitions and music dedicated to the topic of freedom of movement and struggle against diverse forms of racism. SCI Italia is the main promoter along with several associations and informal groups dealing with the issues mentioned above, i.e. Laboratorio 53, Associazione Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione, Officine Culturali Insensinverso.

    Objectives and aim
    The objective of the different editions of the No Border Fest is to deepen through workshops, roundtables and debates, aspects related to migrants’ everyday life as practice of repression of dignity, specifically sharing best practices connected to different approaches to the “hosting and sheltering” systems compared to the institutional ones, where migrant people are active in their own social inclusion and active citizens of their new societal frame. In order to achieve this goal several entities were invited, namely Casa dei Venti, Naga, CIAC, Refugee Welcome – Rome, Ex-MOI. Entities mentioned above had to organize as well a couple of workshops involving migrant people and social workers in order to share their stories and best practices.

    History and description
    No Border Fest was organized for the first time in 2009 by SCI Italia along with several other associations and informal groups in response to the so called “Security Law”, that established the juridical figure of “illegal immigration” in Italy.

    Target groups
    Representatives of associations working with/for migrant people, especially those that implement “hosting and sheltering” systems different than the institutional ones.

    • Migrant people
    • Social workers
    • Activists
    • Local people

    Evaluation methods
    A non-formal evaluation session during the last day of the festival as well as a questionnaire serve to collect impressions of the participants. The majority of the invited associations meet officially in October in order to work on follow-up activities.

    There is a common need to work on self-training/learning on the different issues concerning the hosting and sheltering system. Furthermore it’s of the uttermost importance to examine in deep what happens at the local level and figure out how to work difficulties, which tools are available and how to share them. Concerning the approach to host migrant people in families, it is important to understand if it is replicable in other contexts or other ways. Last but not least, the direct involvement of migrant people in each activity concerning their integration or active participation in the new societal frame must start form their needs, expectations and ambitions as well as a mutual work.

    SCI Italy wants to stress on the importance of funding since in Italy the majority of funding connected to working with and for migrant people are biased in the sense that they just conceive an emergency approach to the issue. For SCI Italy this approach is important in the short-time, but at the same time they strongly believe that it is in the long-term that a real impact on the society we’re living can be achieved. SCI Italy admits that the Refugee Fund was an important tool to implement that activity at the local level, which escapes from the mainstream approach of emergency towards this issue.

    Sustainability and follow up
    One of the main features of the festival is its potential to attract several groups of people and not only specific ones or activists. This approach is guaranteed by its wide range of activities, from public debates to projections and music. Thanks to this feature, the festival is renowned as a pivotal event in Rome concerning migration issues. Moreover the human library is promoted in a way to involve people less aware of migration issues and give them the opportunity to join, in order to facilitate their direct interaction with migrant people and therefore break some of their stereotypes. Even more important is to stress the human level behind each sociopolitical issue. Through this initiative SCI Italia was able to enlarge its network of partners working with and for migrant people and with them it already started to discuss on the possibility to organize workcamps and implement projects at national level.


      You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.