“We all need new engagement!” (WANNE)
Partnership Fair: Volunteering and Integration of Migrants in Austria through Diaspora Organisations and NGOs
The national partnership fair, organised by VAS Austria and Südwind, provides a platform for Third-Country-Nationals (TCNs), NGOs, as well as civil society and diaspora organisations to connect and showcase their work and contributions with regard to the integration of migrants in Austria. Moreover, it is an opportunity for them to network and explore future initiatives with the purpose of improving integration and political participation of TCNs in Austria.
In March 2019, approximately 25 Austrian NGOs and civil society organisations will come together with about 30 Diaspora Organisations and TCN groups, as well as with at least 20 individual TCNs. The organisations and participants will be connected through a professional “speed dating”, a fair with information stands and several networking activities allowing them to learn about each other and develop joint project ideas that will be documented in partnership ideas minutes. All participants will be invited to add their ideas to the design and format of the fair, which will close with a cultural side event in the evening.
According to Statistics Austria, in the year 2017, 1 675 million people born in a foreign country lived in Austria, equalling 19% percent of the overall population. The number of this population group is likely to rise to 2.06 million by 2030. However, non-EU-born adults are half as likely to politically participate in Austria, compared to Austrian-born adults, which represents one of the widest gaps in Europe.
In the view of the increasing negative sentiments within the EU and in Austria, it is crucial for the diaspora to mobilise and showcase their contributions to the communities receiving them, to engage in the socio-political dialogue and flip the current discourse. Furthermore, the crucial engagement of diaspora organisations for development, cultural activities and many more areas in the public domain needs to be recognised more.
The overall goal of the event is to establish networks and initiate collaborations between TCNs, NGOs, diaspora and other civil society organisation in order to make TCNs’ contributions to Austrian public life more visible and create a stronger platform for TCNs to voice their political demands.
VAS Austria – The Association of African Students in Austria is an association that brings together African students to share ideas as well as map out solutions to certain challenges faced by them. VAS Austria is open to all African students and currently comprises 90 members from 24 African countries. To achieve integration and contribution of young African students VAS tries to organise activities in social fields, supports solidarity and growth and improve cultural exchange and partnerships.
VAS’ mission is to create a suitable environment for academic success, to promote African culture and to encourage entrepreneurship and solidarity for a positive change. VAS is an impartial, non-political and non-profit organisation. VAS Austria is an association that aims to actively participate and contribute to the sustainable development of our societies. The establishment of this association is expected to bring value to the political support as well as to strengthen the impact of the work of the young African Diaspora.
WANNE – The transnational project “We all need new engagement!” aims to foster the engagement of third country nationals (TCNs) in civil society and in the communities of the receiving society with a special focus on volunteering in diaspora and civil society organizations in educational, cultural and social activities and in decision-making frameworks in the participating countries, including Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Greece and Malta. The project partners implement project activities in the seven EU-countries, including establishing an online database, organising partnership fairs in each country, conducting awareness and advocacy trainings, strengthening diaspora and civil society organisations and foster their political demands and share good practices. The teams will carry out awareness raising workshops on human dignity and gender sensitivity, engaging TCNs in project activities and benefiting them from the multipliers’ effects.
VAS Austria Chair Person
VAS Austria Project Assistant