Branching out: Project updates

Branching Out is slowly coming to an end..

We are in the last phase of Branching Out: (re)connecting ideas. The project team received all the reports from your 19 Local Activities across Europe which fed into the project evaluation during our Strategic Planning Workshop in October, and now the team concludes last steps and finalizes the reporting.

In that phase we compiled some overviews we would like to share with you:

  • In case you are interested in getting an overview over what happened during the Community Forum, we compiled a report highlighting some participant's contributions, study visits and present partners.
  • We prepared an overall report about the Local Activities (Activity 2) with additional information about each activity, material from Social and Local Media and pictures. Have a look into the timeline and dive into a compilation of all the beautiful activities that happened all over Europe;
  • In the Strategic Planning Workshop Report you will find the most important outcomes our evaluations, discussion and the strategic workshop held during the Exchange Platform Meeting.

Generally, if you are interested in the outputs like the BuildingBridges Toolkit or the Diverse Communities: Visual Method Cards check out the Branching Out: Resource section or the Branching Out: Activity section with more information about each Activity under Branching Out.



image 2018 10 12

Update on Strategic Workshop: What did the Branching out team do in Finland?

The Strategic Planning workshop was the last part of the Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project, that was happening throughout the whole year of 2018. From the preparation meeting in April until evaluation meeting in October, the Branching out project was flourishing and it gave opportunities to people around Europe to join different activities and share their experiences, knowledge and outcomes when it comes to social inclusion of diverse groups in their local community.

Alongside with Exchange Platform Meeting (EPM), an annual SCI event, Branching out team gathered in Anjala, Finland and took time on one cloudy Monday to evaluate the project, while taking into consideration what could be improved in our next projects, what were the main challenges, and of course – planning the future steps and initiatives! 
And besides that, project’ experiences and lessons will be presented to and evaluated together with the Strategic Plan Team of SCI to transform the project into a strategic approach improving SCI’s practices to engage refugees and migrants into volunteering opportunities.


Tour de Branching out: The Exhibition

The Branching out team wanted to share the outcomes of the project visually, and there is no better way to do it than to organize (what, what?!) - an exhibition!



By having few separate sections – a presentation of Local activities of Branching out, the Gender-Blender corner, Diverse Communities: visual method cards overview and a photo exhibition of people passing through the Balkan route, a full impression was given to participants of EPM when it comes to Branching out project and what was done so far. Team members were there to answer specific questions; a photo booth was set up to announce a new topic SCI will focus on next year, with a tiny bit of help of hashtags focusing on gender issues… and much more.
Branching out team also reached out to EPM crowd by doing few workshops on challenges in our local communities, Refugee Fund, Building Bridges campaign and how to involve volunteers in projects and activities.

Diverse Communities: Visual method cards

The team proudly presented the Diverse Communities: Visual method cards, an interactive and easy-to-use tool that can help when looking for ways to cherish diversity and to encourage intercultural dialogue among different groups or individuals in a local community or during international activity. Behind this method are months of hard work and planning and because of that, the team did a workshop on how to use these cards and to collect feedback from participants on whether or not they find this method relevant, useful and inspirational.

With attractive visuals and methods that can bring creativity to any international activity – we also gave one copy of these Cards to all EPM participants. Santa came a bit earlier this year! :)
(Diverse Communities: Visual method cards are now available online - you can find the cards here and the instructions on how to use them here.)


Interesting facts

While evaluating our project we came to few very surprising tips, conclusions and information while looking at the evaluation forms of our activities: might be useful for you too, so continue reading!
The more you share, the more you have: during the Community forum that took place in June in Antwerp, most of the people shared their projects and best practices with the rest of the group. Many of these best practices were later on implemented by different SCI branches in the next stage of the project – Local activities.
Tip from CVS Bulgaria: provide a space for children on your events! That way you will attract more crowd - parents will be more willing to attend and start a conversation with other people.
Mouth-to-mouth promotion does work: informing people about your activities and events just by telling them what and where it’s happening can still bring people to your activities. It doesn’t always have to be through social media - sometimes more personal contact can do a lot!

The team found it very useful to be part of big and important meeting such as EPM, where everybody can learn and get useful tips from each other. The Branching out project gave an example of successful cooperation between SCI branches and their local groups while working together for a greater cause - including the marginalized ones in their communities and trying to make the world a better place - at least locally.
We start with small changes on this field but we will definitely not stop! New projects will happen, and that means - new energies, initiatives and new chances for you to be included. Follow our next journeys and join us!

It’s time to say goodbye for the Branching Out Team, but we are definitely not saying goodbye from #volunteeringforpeace and activism.


INVITATION - Join us this October in Anjalankoski (Kouvola), Finland for Strategic Planning Workshop! (APPLICATIONS CLOSED)

It’s evaluation time!

Are you interested to focus on the outcomes of the Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project? Are you, besides that, also willing to contribute with your ideas and proposals on how to create new inclusive projects within SCI? Then you should read more, because the Strategic Planning Workshop is a place for young activists of the SCI movement and partner organizations to:

  • meet and reflect on knowledge, best practices and challenges experienced throughout the involvement in the Community Forum and the organization of the Local Activities during the summer 2018;
  • share best practices, tools and lessons learnt with the SCI movement in order to inspire other branches and partner organizations to take action towards more inclusive volunteer projects and events in SCI;
  • finalize the playing cards - a visual tool introducing inclusive methods and tools of work
  • evaluate Branching out project in its whole;
  • discuss future strategies on engaging young refugees/migrants in SCI work.

Let us know before 10th July if you want to join us in Finland at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Update on Local activities: Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project

We are still #branchingout!

Some of the local activities within Branching out: (re)connecting ideas took place and we are at the moment receiving some quite inspiring stories, quotes and photos from these events.

In all corners of Europe diversity has been flourishing this summer: people in Hungary, Germany, Serbia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Italy and Catalonia were learning, sharing and creating a safe space for intercultural exchange within their local communities. Whether you are a local, an international volunteer or a newcomer – you could find your place and take part in different workshops, movie screenings, festivals and Human Libraries. It was all about bringing people together and connecting!

The projects’ focus is to enhance the connection between locals and minority groups, like refugees and asylum seekers, and we are happy to hear from SCI branches that things have been going well and that they have managed to create these events in cooperation with their local partners and volunteers.

We have 2 more weeks to go, since the last day to make these activities happen within the Branching out project is 30th of September. We expect to hear and read more from Spain, Germany, Hungary and Croatia.
Before we inform you about these events, read some stories and take a look at photos from the previous activities.  

Zuckerfest in Munich

The festival was a big success in bringing together different sections of the community. Local Germans and refugees were able to meet and get to know each other. Non-Muslims were able to learn about the celebration of Eid at the end of Ramadan. There were also some games and activities for everyone to join in together and have another chance to interact.

Drawing murals with kids in Armavir region in Armenia

Marusya Ayvazyan, a volunteer involved in the project, says:
‘'Now I feel very happy that I have been able to do little work and make children happy and by the intercultural communication promote inclusiveness and tolerance in society. The camp gave me the opportunity to develop teamwork, communication, leadership, and drawing skills. We are very good team and that made our job much easier. We will continue our friendship and carry out many initiatives together’'.

A workcamp in Helsinki that focused on intercultural relations and community development

This year KVT Finland organized a workcamp that was partly supported by Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project. It included cooperations with 2 local organizations (Finland’s Somalia Network (FSN) and Badbaado ry) and the camp program took place in different districts of Helsinki. The participants got to learn about different means of promoting intercultural encounters and dialogue in city spaces, and learn about the specific history and contemporary situation of Somali community in Finland.

There were also other workshops and events: 3 carnival costume workshops and a carnival event during the Night of the Arts (Miitti), Somalian night as an evening program of a conference and Puhos Loves People - city festival.

Cineforum for the World Refugee Day in Barcelona

A documentary “Los muros de agua” talks about the Mediterranean crisis and it was presented by the collective who created it, called FOTOMOVIMIENTO, which was developed during the 15-M Movement in Barcelona. The goal of this event and the documentary creation was to show the social reality through real images.

The documentary screening motivated the participants to talk about the refugee camps in the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios, together with witnesses who explained the situation of migrants, volunteers, activists and big NGOs.
Find more about the event here.

Stay tuned for more updates from Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project. And while waiting for it - read more about our future plans and next steps.



PLAYING CARDS first draft version is out - we wanna check with you if it works!

In the Branching out:(re)connecting ideas project we are developing the Playing Cards, an interactive and easy-to-use toolkit through which we want to spread methods and ideas in order to encourage dialogue amongst different groups in any local community.

We won't know if it actually works if we don't have people to try it out on the spot, right? So that’s what we did – the first version of Playing Cards was sent out to some of the Building Bridges workcamp leaders, youth workers and SCI branches. 8 envelopes have been send out and we are looking forward to receiving feedback!

Let’s keep #branchingout while #volunteeringforpeace!




The list is out! See which activities will be happening on which date and in which country. Feel free to stop by if you are around! :)



SCI Branch: SCI Germany (Munich)  Munich                

Event: Zuckerfest: Iftar-Cooking Event



SCI Branch: CVS Bulgaria, Sofia                     

Event: Meeting in the Park: Park community event dedicated to the World Refugee Day (Facebook Event: here)



CVS Bulgaria, Sofia       

Event: Human Library   Breaking stereotypes focusing on the positive side of migration - a palette of knowledge, skills and attitude, which bring colourful bridges between different cultures and give our own culture a vibrant diversity and colouring. (18:00 - 21:30) (link to the Facebook event is here)



SCI branch: SCI CAT Barcelona, La Raval         

Event: Documentary Screening: Screening of the documentary "Los Muros de agua" which shows a critical view from the field on Greek islands Lesvos and Chios with testimonies that explain the situation of migrants, volunteers, activists and large NGOs. Discussion with the director, refugees and the audience. (21:00 - 00:00) (Facebook Event: here)



SCI branch: Útilapu Hálózat Budapest            

Event: Community Fest: Human Library: Listening to stories of refugees - asking questions and getting to know your neighbor; Exhibition with drawings of minor refugees from all around the world; Activities with children and games; Bohemian Betyars (Accoustic Concert) (16:00 - 21:00) (Facebook Event: here)


22 - 23/06/2018

SCI Branch: SCI Italy, Rome, La Città dell'Utopia

Event: No Border Fest Creating dialogue and strengthen the network to enhance social inclusion. Discussions, Music and activities dedicated to the topic of migration. (Facebook Event: here)


23 - 24/06/2018

SCI branch: CVS Bulgaria

Sofia, Museum of History of Sofia

Event: Solidarity Fest: Creating dialogue among individuals, different groups and generations. Performances, Workshops, Documentary Screening (Facebook Event: here)



SCI branch: VCV Serbia

Event: Community Lunch + Exhibition "Roads" and artwork from an Afghan refugee, Panel discussion "Situation for Refugees in Serbia" with representatives from different organizations. Cooking workshop with Afghan Refugees, Community Lunch with different organizations and groups. (Facebook Event: here)


01 - 09/07/2018

SCI branch: VCV Serbia

Event: Solidarity with refugees: Workcamp about community gardening and cooking event with refugees and locals (read more about it here)



SCI branch: SCI Germany (Leipzig)

Leipzig, Querbeet Public Garden              

Event: Summerfest: Summerfest with talks, discussion and cooking


20 - 22/07/2018

SCI branch: SCI Germany (Munich)

Event: Summerfest: Summerfest with music, cooking and various activities. (Facebook Event: here)


01 - 09/08/2018

ArmActive Youth Center

Event: Kinder Color Workcamp: Engaging youth for volunteering activities, intercultural exchange workshop, creative work (painting) in kindergarten


12 - 26/08/2018

SCI branch: KVT Finland

Event: Culture Camp: Workcamp about gender identity including Finish Somali community in Helsinki (link to the workcamp description is here)

15/ – 16/09/2018

SCI branch: Útilapu Hálózat

Event: Kite Festival (Facebook Event: here)



SCI branch: VCZ Zagreb

Event: ‘’Taste, Sound and Images of Peace!’’ celebration of the International Day of Peace.


23 - 29 September

SCI branch: Útilapu Hálózat

Event: Bokreta festival: Printing workshops, jam sessions, city mapping games organized by Open Doors Hungary and Miradoor in Budapest, Hungary (Facebook Event: here) 



SCI branch: SCI Madrid

Event: City Tour with Refugee Families



SCI branch: KVT Finland

Event: Annual Volunteer Day of KVT Finland (Facebook Event: here)



SCI branch: SCI Germany (Munich) Munich                  

Event: Human Library




We got some new proposals for Local activities within the Branching out: (re)connecting ideas project! We share some of them to get you inspired - and let you know there is still an opportunity for you to apply! If you have an idea on the local activity that you would like to implement in your home country - while focusing on social inclusion of newcomers and work with a local community - wait no more! Find more details and application form on this link.

  • Workcamp in Belgrade, Serbia - community gardening and cooking event with refugees and locals in July (1 - 9)

''Refugees will have the chance to experience something different from their daily routine, meeting people from all over Europe is also important for them to increase their knowledge about Europe itself and its diversity, while they will also deeply benefit from the increased contact with local community.''

  • Screening of a documentary on World Refugee day (20th June) and a debate in Barcelona, Catalonia

''(We want to) reflect on the inclusion of refugees as a tool for mobilization and social change.''

  • Painting the walls of a kindergarten with refugees, students and local people in Armavir, Armenia

''Young people will be engaged in volunteer work and learn about the importance of their role as community leader and activist, who can then bring a change.'' 



Vormingplus Gent - Eeklo

Since few years, people have many questions connected with the arrival of refugees and new migrants to Europe. What are the causes and consequences of migration crisis? What are the stories of people who are arriving? What consequences does their arrival have for our neighborhood and society?

Through a game, participants learn more about migration in Europe and Belgium, specifically about personal stories, facts and figures, motives to leave the country, or integration processes. The motto is: People might have different opinions about the migration crisis, but they should base them on correct information. 

STUDY VISIT 8th June, Antwerp: CURANT - co-housing and case management for unnacompanied young adult refugees in Antwerp

During the Community forum, on 8th June, we will have a chance to visit a co-housing project of CURANT, an Antwerp-based initiative that focuses on integration of young refugees in Antwerp society.

''With this initiative, we want to ensure that young fugitives have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in Antwerp. Our first priority is the integration of these youngsters who, like all youngsters,  deserve that extra helping hand. Curant combines human compassion and social responsibility. We hope Antwerp can be a leading example for other cities"




We got some great applications and ideas for the Local activties to be implemented during summer 2018, which aim is to initiate new projects and strenghten the cooperation between SCI branches, volunteers and organizations when it comes to social inclusion of newcomers in the local community.

Here is one of the examples of a local action from Finland to get you inspired on the way:

The aim of the activity is to promote grass root level intercultural encounters in city spaces of Eastern Helsinki by collaboration between different local initiatives working for the same purpose. Special focus will be on the Finnish-Somali relations, the Somali community in the capital area being one of the oldest and largest migrant-based communities in Finland. In order to discover space and identity, writing and photography will be used as tools to tackle this topic.