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Mamadou Diouf

Singer and journalist form Senegal living in Poland, professional vet, singing in Wolof, Polish and French. Among others, he cooperated with Voo Voo on “Zapłacono” album and Tam Tam Project band. Together with Pako Sarr and Mohamed M’bow (djembe, guitar and vocals) he founded Senegalese trio Djolof-Man. Associated with Afryka.org – portal working on promotion of Africa. Mamadou is also a correspondent of Continent Warsaw portal – information site concerning multiculturalism in Warsaw.

Polish organisations have submitted applications on behalf or for the benefit of immigrants on numerous occasions. In the very beginning, it should be emphasised that there is an obvious qualitative difference between applications “on behalf” and “for the benefit.” As for the former, there is certain cooperation between an organisation and a group of immigrants. This means that there are immigrants in a group which works on the general idea of the project, its preparation and goals. A project “for the benefit” of immigrants, by contrast, sounds worse in my opinion. Still, much depends on the area of activity.

The European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (EIF) was launched in Poland in 2007. In the first years of its functioning, the Fund seemed to me a suspicious, even Mafia-like entity. Everyone kept too quiet about it. Its members did not appear in the media. There were no promotional campaigns, posters or anything that would have informed Poles about how they could help immigrants to integrate with the new society.

 

Even though I was active, I would not have learnt about this important institution for immigrants if I had not taken part in various meetings on development aid, shortly before Poland acceded to the European Union (EU). I have been talking about the low involvement of foreigners, especially after the first phase of the functioning of the EIF, on various discussion panels, forums and conferences for many years now. Considering this, my beloved NGOs may consider me grumpy. Still, this looks really bad in comparison with the funds spent in 2007-2013.

Now, it seems valuable to remind you what the EIF is. The European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals was established under the Council Decision 2007/435/EC of 25 June 2007. The objective of the Fund is to support the activities undertaken by the member states aimed at enabling third-country nationals (in other words, the citizens of the non-EU countries) with different social, cultural, religious, language and ethnic backgrounds to meet the requirements for the granting of a stay permit, and to facilitate their integration with the societies of Europe. The Fund focuses its attention primarily on activities in the field of the integration of third-country nationals. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is the institution responsible for the implementation system of the Fund. The Implementing Authority for European Programmes is a delegated institution.

In order to support the realisation of the general objective, the Fund contributes to the development and implementation of national strategies for the integration of third-country nationals in all social aspects, taking into consideration primarily the principle that integration is a dynamic two-way process of mutual accommodation by immigrants and their host societies.

In view of the lack of other sources of financing of integration activities, the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals is a basic source of funds for activities in the area of the integration of foreigners. Due to the lack of any specific migration policy in Poland, the Fund, which was originally supposed to complement activities undertaken by the state, is almost wholly responsible for the form of immigrant integration activities. In this article, the term “immigrant” denotes foreigners (people who do not hold a Polish citizenship) who come to Poland for purposes other than tourism. This group includes also the leaders of migrant communities (also with a Polish passport) of foreign origin, who work actively for the benefit of their national or ethnic groups

 

Dramas on the southern borders of the EU

Spain and Italy have to face probably the largest number of problems on their borders. The attempts of emigrants from Northern Africa and the Middle East to get to Italy by sea or from Western Africa through the Atlantic to the Canary Islands can be deemed a humanitarian catastrophe. It is in the Spanish possessions in Morocco that the situation is the worst. The issues related to migration management have recently gained urgency. The media cover extensively cases of drowning or journeys in inhuman conditions. The Italian island of Lampedusa was some time ago the place of the biggest tragedy with immigrants in the contemporary history of Europe. The public in the West was shocked, and Pope Francis called it a disgrace. After the utopian attempts to close its sea borders, the EU concluded that effective management of migration flows and integration of newcomers is in our common interest. The EU has started to work on its common principles and mechanisms, even if integration policy, according to the provisions of the treaty, is the internal competence of the member states.

A few words about foreigners in Poland

According to the Policy Report of the European Migration Network (EMN-2011), 2011 did not see a sharp increase in the number of migrants interested in a long-term stay or residence in Poland. The statistics of 31 January 2011 show that foreigners in Poland, third-country nationals (from outside the EU and EEA – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), held almost 100,300 residence cards, including 48 000 residence permits, 41 000 temporary residence permits and 5700 long-term EU- resident permits. In comparison with 2010, the total number of valid residence cards rose (2010: 97 000 cards; an increase of 3,3%). The nationals of Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam and Byelorussia were the most numerous.

Tools employed for the benefit of immigrants

The integration policy of the European Union is the main tool. In its documents, the EU defines integration as “a dynamic two-way process of mutual accommodation by immigrants and their host societies.” Which issues are of utmost importance? The European Union indicates several directions of its activities: the strengthening of the capacity of host countries to benefit from social diversity, improvement of the roles of individual people in the management of social diversity, promotion of friendly relations with neighbours and strengthening of cooperation with the media in the area of integration.

What is the most important issue for Europe as regards effective integration of immigrants? Two issues seem so: labour market and education. This is the reason why the European Commission encourages everyone to combat discrimination in these areas. Further, the question of support for enterprises conducted by immigrants and participation of social partners in the development and implementation of integration projects is often brought to the fore.

As for educational projects, language courses are the most popular. During the first phase of the functioning of the EIF, there were really many of them in Warsaw. Obviously, language is one of the fundamental tools of social and economic integration. I always tell my friends from Africa: if you want to argue, do so in the local language. If you get a job in a restaurant, you will have to take orders and write them down!

Immigrants and the host society

Information campaign and intercultural dialogue are activities addressed to the host society. Without interaction, the immigrants and the host society cannot get to know each other,
a situation that perpetuates stereotypes and aggravates negative behaviour. There is no integration without social interaction. Integration policy, as a long-term process, requires acceptance not only of the representatives of the political scene but also, or even primarily, of the host society. People are usually more willing to accept legislative decisions when anti-migration sentiments are weak and newcomers from foreign countries are not feared. Certainly, radical circles and political parties are bound to incite these sentiments.

All activities that are open for the whole local community give the immigrants an opportunity to build relationship with their neighbours. A sense of belonging to the new place is of fundamental importance. Both language and relations with the host society are helpful in this respect and lay ground for the fundamental mechanism of integration. Sport (the Etnoliga project in Warsaw), various events promoting the culture and tradition of ethnic and national groups, events bringing together all cultures coexisting in a given place (annual multicultural Street Party organised by Continent Warsaw in Warsaw in August), Africa’s Day (an outdoor event financed by the capital city of Warsaw), Neighbour’s Day or meetings of immigrants with students at school are good examples of promotion of these relations. Conferences, film festivals, web pages and books raise the awareness of the host society.
The book “Africa in Warsaw” published by the Foundation Africa Another Way in 2010 inspired huge interest on the part of the media and society. That was also the case with a promotional campaign organised by the Armenian Foundation “Armenian Neighbour,” which included a conference and publication of a book.

Capital city and immigrants

The percentages of immigrants in chosen European cities are as follows: Luxemburg (59,15%), Amsterdam (47%) and London (27%); the number of immigrants is still rising in such capital cities as Madrid (12,75%), Dublin (8,4%), Rome (6,6%) and Lisbon (6,27%).

In comparison which such European countries as Germany, France, England and Belgium, the capital city of Poland is little socially diversified. During the interwar period, Warsaw was inhabited by Poles, Jews, Germans, Russians and other ethnic or national groups. The non-Polish community constituted 40% of the total population of the city. Nowadays, most foreigners who come to Poland live in Warsaw. The number of international students rises together with the number of immigrants who come to Warsaw. It is estimated that 150,000 foreigners live in Warsaw today. In comparison with the rest of Poland, Warsaw is really multicultural. Nevertheless, the centres of immigrants in Warsaw are not as big as those in Western Europe, let alone ethnic ghettos in Northern America or districts in some cities in the West. Still, you can find here areas where the presence of immigrants, for instance Vietnamese, is visible. These are the vicinities of the Palace of Culture and Science, Hale Banacha, “Za Żelazną Bramą” housing estate, “Wola Park” shopping centre, marketplace at Koło and Plac Zawiszy.

Immigrants do not form a substantial majority of any of the districts of Warsaw or block of streets. There are no ghettos of ethnic or religious groups either. It is the rental rate or transport options that are decisive factors when it comes to choosing one’s house.

How to make immigrants more active?

The launching of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in Poland has opened up new possibilities for organisations for immigrants. Its support and facilitation of the financing of integration projects contributed not only to the rise in the number of such organisations. New interesting initiatives emerged as well. Now that the Fund has been functioning already for several years, one can ask how the projects financed by it have facilitated the integration of third-country nationals in Poland and to what extent they have changed Polish society.

They have strengthened social inclusion. At this point I would like to revert to the concept of a “migrant.” Experience demonstrates that various social actors and public institutions are involved in activities connected with migration. Immigrants are often ignored in the process of reaching agreement. It is a huge mistake repeated for many years in various countries. An immigrant is not “formated.” Migrants are people with various needs and adaptation capabilities. Integration will not be as effective as expected if this diversity among new-comers is not taken into account. It is this individual aspect, which we discuss while dealing with issues connected with labour market, education, accommodation etc. It should be emphasised, however, that projects are usually addressed to broad circles of immigrants. Organisations for migrants can and should play an important role in the development and realisation of integration policy. Projects should be assessed once in a time as to how they encourage participation on the part of foreigners. Immigrants are the target group of the EIF. In Poland, this group is still rather small, which begs the question of how well this community is approached and diagnosed. Integration activities should not be judged only by the number of people directly involved in or invited to projects. What about a broader circle of immigrants? It is true that immigrants exchange information. Still, there is a difference between community information (for instance, when the amnesty law entered into force, every illegal immigrant understood the gravity of the situation and passed the information on to his or her compatriots and friends) and willingness to take part in research or conferences. In the last two cases, an illiterate immigrant (there are many people who cannot write or read) does not know what relation this bears to integration. That is the reason why diagnosing
a given community is so important if the organisation that carries out the project wants to be effective.

Another problem is insufficient knowledge about sources of financing among immigrants.
I conducted a biennial project financed by the Batory Foundation that aimed at stirring to action the African communities in five cities: Tricity, Poznań, Wrocław, Cracow and Łódź. During the meetings, I strove to explain who a grantor is, how much money we have, why everyone should pay attention to the financial reports from our meetings and so on. As regards the EIF, beneficiaries should know where the funds at their disposal come from. The knowledge about the sources of the financing of specific integration projects may spur beneficiaries to action. Why wouldn’t they encourage their own communities to be active and try to receive funds that are addressed to their compatriots? When in need, numerous foreigners ask for help people of the same origin or living in the same town. Many of them do not identify assistance granted as part of projects. Once, I took my compatriots to the office of the Association for Legal Intervention, explaining to them on our way there that the association works as part of an EU project. They wondered why that aid was free of charge. Newcomers count rather on traditional contacts with their compatriots rather than on the institutions of the host country. This testifies to the low level of formalisation of older generations. This aid is given as friendly support. We do not know whether this low involvement of immigrants results from these informal contacts – there will always be an older compatriot, someone more knowledgeable than I am, who will help me and tell where and how I can complete formalities. In big cities, this is the role of students or graduates coming from a given country.

As for legal aid projects, non-governmental organisations act as intermediaries between migrants and public administration institutions. These are typical projects that involve primarily Polish citizens, while any participation of immigrants in roles other than this of
a customer is hardly noticeable.

Effectiveness of Projects

The question of to what extent migrants are committed to work for their own benefit is actually a question about the effectiveness of integration activities and the financed projects. When we talk about the needs of immigrants, we naturally refer also to the interest of the whole host society. We can agree about the importance of the national language because it enables foreigners to find their bearings in the local reality. Further, of great importance are activities aimed at boosting one’s chances on the labour market, for instance vocational courses. Actions addressed to the host society are obviously also important. One can organise trainings and adjust the project to given target groups. The goals will be then assessable and indicative of the effectiveness of the actions taken. Nevertheless, doubts arise in various cases. We can read reports and lists of figures prepared by beneficiaries who have undergone some training. The question is, however, whether only figures are good news for the interested parties and grantors? Do we have qualitative data: how has the training or counseling influenced the situation of an immigrant on the labour market, for instance? The subject usually ceases to be discussed after the project is complete. What about further cooperation with beneficiaries? We know that there is nothing like an immediate effect in real life just as medicines do not cure immediately. The monitoring of actual effects and the way an immigrant copes with various challenges after the training is complete may be helpful in assessing the value of the project.

Low level of involvement on the part of immigrants

The fundamental cause of the low level of involvement on the part of immigrants is that there are not many of them in Poland. When I am writing this, we are in the middle of 2014. Immigrants constitute less then 0,5% in Poland, which has a population of 38 million inhabitants. Poland is still a country where emigration exceeds immigration.

Among the most common problems that immigrants have to deal with and complain of most frequently are the registration of stay, visits in offices (long queues at the Voivodship Office in Warsaw at Długa 5 up till recently), lack of legal information, which makes migrants elicit the assistance of intermediaries, violations of the right to privacy and protection of image rights by journalists who cover events concerning immigrants.

The projects of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals have been developed and realised by numerous Polish organisations. Some of them were aimed at spurring to action the community of migrants. I do not have statistics from the whole country, but I have my own observations about the number of organisations for migrants present at conferences, meetings or active in migrant communities. There are few of them. It is quite disturbing that some organisations have not carried out their work for the benefit of migrants well enough. Assistance in establishing associations is crippling as well.

Obviously, it always cuts both ways. Immigrants themselves also should be held responsible for this low involvement. The main obstacle to stirring immigrant communities to action has been the unclear legal status of numerous diaspora members and the primacy of individual livelihood needs. The amnesty law passed by foreigners should remedy this situation to a great extent.

Why do immigrants themselves are not as active as they should be? After all, this is in their own interest. It is really important for foreigners to have a chance to meet people who have similar experience, come from the same country, have similar problems and speak the same language. The support of your own group gives you self-confidence and a sense of community. Such relations within one’s own group are not conducive to openness to other groups of migrants and the host society. It is easy to get stuck in one’s “mental ghetto.” This is why such initiatives should be undertaken as part of projects. Thanks to new contacts made during works on those projects, immigrants can find it easier to encourage their compatriots who have just come to the country to take part in events organised by the city authorities or non-governmental organisations.

A fish or a fishing rod?

This philosophical question keeps coming back. To wait for help from outside or invest my time and effort into solving my own problems? Another internal obstacle lies in the great stratification of migrant communities, their various origins, mentalities and education. Immigrants come to Poland with different approaches and for different purposes: to earn money, study, visit the new country, develop themselves, find shelter from persecution or life threat in their countries of origin.

There are still chances that immigrants might be more active. Local and municipal programmes are the most important and visible aspects of immigration policy. These projects should be conducted by representatives of local communities. The local authorities know what is on the agenda, know better the structure of immigrant groups and their needs.

To conclude

In order to sum up the functioning of the EIF in Poland in 2007-2013 and assess the participation of immigrants, one should answer the following question: is this all about inviting immigrants to take part in various research projects, cultural events and counseling, or increasing the number of immigrant organisations, which will prepare their own projects, submit their own applications and realise their own goals in the future. Despite the low number of immigrants in Poland, much could have been done. Does this mean that greater involvement on the part of immigrants could be expected after 7 years of the functioning of the EIF in Poland? Polish organisations know this because they have difficulties getting to third-country nationals, especially non-Slavic ones. This testifies not only to the distance between the host society and the immigrants but also to the discord between NGOs which work for the benefit of immigrants and their beneficiaries.

Do final reports contain the opinion of beneficiaries on the effects of the actions undertaken as part of projects? Are there still questionnaires which examine something more than the number of immigrants invited to participate in the project?

As long as there is no system of free legal aid financed, for instance, by the Fund for immigrants, many of them (for instance footballers playing in lower leagues) will not have a chance to assert their rights.

This text is not a fruit of research, but my personal reflection, based on my observations about the actions undertaken for the benefit of immigrants in Warsaw, mainly thanks to the funds of the EIF. When a foreigner, even one without a Polish citizenship, starts to feel at home here, he or she starts to plan the future here and support local groups. One can assume then that he or she is a self-reliant and independent person, who functions well in society. Such immigrants can be useful for the host society as people who can earn their own crust. This improves their image. Integration is a two-way process. Everyone should make effort – both the immigrants and the host society.

By Mamadou Diouf

Translation: Anna Orzechowska

 

 

 

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Insured immigrants

My friend once told me, “Be more wary of the tax office than of the police.” In retrospect, it seems to me that he forgot to add that no one had ever won with the Polish Social Insurance Institution, ZUS for short in Polish. I had no idea what kind of institution it is. This sounds strange but that was really the case at the time. I had never been employed on a full time basis. Common sense told me: “Dude, what is a social insurance pension for immigrants?”

Over five years ago, being in a hurry, I took the wrong train. This sometimes happens when you are late but know which platform the train departs from. The train was supposed to have gone to Zakopane. It turned out that that it was an express to ZUS. That’s how troubles began, much fuss about with money and insurance.

It has always puzzled me why insurance is obligatory. Why can’t you insure yourself there where you want or put aside a sum of money on your bank account to use in the event of an illness or accident. Some procedures, however, have to be completed “ex officio.” That’s always the case when something is regulated by laws and regulations.

Social Insurance Institution. In Polish, ZUS for short. I am allergic to the very abbreviation, so popular in Poland. By no means is ZUS brave. Not all artists know that their performances are treated as a form of economic activity by ZUS. It’s enough that you are on the register of artists held by the Ministry of Culture (you don’t have to either have a NIP or REGON number or keep the books as is the case with a typical economic activity). As for me, ZUS told me to pay the insurance contributions for the previous years. A considerable sum of money had accumulated in no time (I wish it had been the Polish national lottery). Even installments were of little help because the law prohibits spreading payments over a period longer than five years. It is something that is called “voluntary” health insurance! A social security fund, health insurance, a labour fund … I don’t remember how many times I had to fill in, with capital letters and numbers, the blank spaces below these phrases sounding like
a mantra

For several days, I was considering an idea of bringing the case before the European Tribunal of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Something was definitely amiss with my case. Finally, my warm feelings towards the country on the Vistula River prevailed. I didn’t want to do anything against the country that had received me so warmly some years ago. After all, when any case is brought before international institutions, the image of the country gets tarnished to some extent. I had to pay even though the validity of the request made by ZUS was doubtful. The case, however, was later brought before the European Commission on the request of ZUS after I had submitted an application for redemption of the debt. Halfway through 2014, I already see the end of the stairway or maybe it’s the terminus of the train I wrote about in the beginning. At this point I finish my personal story.

I’m thinking of making use of my six-year-long experience: various contacts, meetings, appeals, applications for spreading out the payments, submitted to ZUS. I’m thinking of piecing it all together in order to organise meetings with international students and immigrants all over Poland. These will be workshops, during which I will talk about my own ignorance in the face of the significance of the situation. In fact, ZUS and the tax office are both equally inaccessible.

Every student and immigrant (if he or she works) is obliged to secure himself or herself. In the beginning, it is obviously far more important to complete formalities required to obtain a visa and register our residence. An official announcement published by ZUS is as follows: “If a person insures himself or herself voluntarily, he or she is required to report to ZUS the fact of having concluded a voluntary health insurance contract with the provincial division of the National Health Fund (NFZ for short in Polish).” That’s what I did a few years ago, believing that I would be paying insurance contributions from that moment on. It turned out that ZUS had charged money even before it even learnt about my existence. That’s what immigrants should strive to avoid. It’s not worth their nerves, a constantly empty bank account and unnecessary installments. I will talk to them about health insurance. Similar meetings, workshops and panels will be particularly helpful for those who are responsible only for themselves (have no children and spouse, and are in good health for the time being). These people probably are not especially interested in matters concerning insurance.

I think that workshops concerning such questions as why the social insurance system is so important, how and where you can insure yourself in Poland, whether you can check if the employer has insured the employee (something that is particularly important for footballers playing in lower leagues), to what benefits an insured person is entitled to and how old-age and disability pensions are granted may prove very useful. Even ZUS itself could be willing to send its experts to answer questions of young immigrants. Someone should explain to them that it’s beneficial for them to pay insurance contributions. I’m curious what percentage of immigrants takes into consideration the perspective of spending their retirement in Poland. We can fall ill or have an accident today or tomorrow. Retirement is a marathon. We don’t always think about how our life will look like in 20 or 30 years’ time.

There is, however, one privileged group of foreigners who are not subject to social insurance. These are citizens of foreign countries (this turn of phrase sounds better than the word “immigrants” although it is the proper definition of a foreigner!) whose residence in Poland is not permanent and who are employed at foreign diplomatic representations, consular posts, international institutions or in special missions. Those who study at state higher education institutions have the problem off their heads. At every such an institution, there is some nice person (a deputy dean for students’ affairs) who helps with all matters concerning social assistance. The situation looks much glimmer when it comes to immigrants working illegally, for instance at markets. I’m curious how much immigants know about ZUS.

By Mammadou Diouf

Translation: Anna Orzechowska

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After the 3rd Forum: What Next?

I have taken part in numerous discussion panels, conferences and workshops. Most of them have been organised by non-governmental organisations, sometimes also by the public administration. The last Forum was held in Warsaw and its subject was the migration policy of three Polish cities: Cracow, Lublin and Warsaw. That was also the order in which workshops were organised in the three cities, each time at the invitation of the main partner of the Forum – one of the following non-governmental organisations: Interkulturalni (the Intercultural), Homo Faber and the Inna Przestrzeń (Other Space) Foundation.

The third sector has its merits in the development of democracy, resolution of various social issues and numerous untypical problems. I sometimes wonder: if the third sector had existed in the Middle Ages, would have Galileo had a good protector and defender in his confrontation with the church authorities? The effectiveness of NGOs is simply unparalleled in certain matters. 

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Immigration seen from a distance

Migrants and development

When we touch upon the topic of migrations, we focus on two things. First, what a society can do as a host to integrate the newcomers. Secondly, what the newcomers should do to be received in a peaceful way. Today, I would like to refer to different expectations – those of the migrants’ families. What does a family, who very often pays for the journey, expect, what are the thoughts of those who are left in the so called third countries? What migrants do to help in the development of their place of birth? The problem of the migrations and development has not beenconsidered in Poland as yet.

Irregular immigration, either legal or not, contributes to the progress, to the development of the third countries. Those people are the actors of the progress, solid progress. They start different projects for the development of their villages or regions. Usually these projects are aimed at such places, forgotten by the central authority, where there is no school or health centre.

The migrations are the potential engine of growth and development for all engaged parties: receiving countries, countries of origin and for the immigrants themselves. The advantages for the society of the receiving country are obvious: the rejuvenation of the labour force at no expense, the increase of the profitability of such sectors as agriculture and services, important contribution to the system of social care, the response to the needs of the branch of new technologies.Migrants’ countries of origin gain a positive capital investment (money orders as well as investments) through the transfer of technology and competences.

 

A new perspective on the development aid


In a broader view, projects created by the immigrants in their countries of origin engage the authorities, international aid organisations, and EU countries’ governments, which have been providing humanitarian and development aid for years. It is a new direction for African countries, the outside alternative for the officially set public development aid which is not always effective. I often read that billions of dollars have been pumped in Africa for the last 50 years. The logical question appears: when is it all going to end? The answer is not simple. The questioner may pretend ignorance and do not take all aspects of this aid into account. They do not ask, how much from those billions goes to farmers, breeders or ordinary inhabitants of any village in the countries that receive help. How many agents, companies from the supporting country are involved in the realization of the projects? In other words, how much money goes back, through different ways (purchases of equipment and various materials, hiring research or project departments), how many things must be acquired at the companies from the funding country.

In France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland or the USA, an immigrant from Senegal supports their family in many things, such as everyday products, health issues, education, funerals, baptisms… The money order is the most important thing for their family. It is fast and simple. Money Gram or Western Union, which is popular in Poland, have six thousand agent locations in Senegal. The motto of the latter is: „Join a number of people who for over 150 years have been entrusting us with their money to transfer it to their families.” A withdrawal is possible in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world. Despite high commissions, this form of transferring money is indispensable for the immigrants.Thanks to that, every year, people in different African countries receive money that is several times the value of the so called development aid from the rich North. These good practices of the immigrants should inspire decision makers throughout the world to change the obsolete and sometimes amoral approach towards the cooperation with poorer countries.

 

Between the immigrants and their villages


These finances can be a capital injection for savings and credit cooperatives in the villages thanks to the money ordersto families, for the equipment, or to provide the means for loans to the local borrowers.In the past, the migrants limited themselves to supporting their family relations and to financing the rural infrastructure (they were the founders or the sponsors of health centres, mosques, schools etc.). They promoted a less effective modelof development, which gave them prestige in the eyes of the villagers. Today everything looks different. The emergence of the formal organisations for development, for instance associations, as well as new forms of funding change the relations between the migrants and their villages.Rural organisations are getting more involved. The migrants become the creditors. Unfortunately, more projects are realised in the cities, mainly in the field of immovables and transport, which are the profitable sectors.

Almost 30% of the money orders received via money transfer agencies comes from siblings, 20% from parents and 14% from a spouse. The money transfer is also a common practice at the workplace; the money is sent by colleagues or even by customers.

Apart from the money orders in Senegal, there are also considerable transfers from France, Italy, Spain or the USA. In Africa itself, the countries such as Gabon, Mali or Morocco are also an important source of the money transfers. The Senegalese are the real nomads. Who is not, actually? Is there a place in the world where it is impossible to find Polish diaspora?

The money transfers have a potential to bring real positive changes in the migrants’ countries of origin. Their significance becomes enormous when we compare them with the officially set development aid. The valorisation of the experience of the migrants returning to their countries of origin is a completely different subject, which is very important as far as the programmes or projects for the development of the third countries are concerned. I think that the role of the migrants in the development of their countries of origin will be increasing, thanks to their experience from their stay in the "first” or "second” countries and thanks to their competences and money transfers. The effectiveness is an essential aspect. It is obvious that one is more willing to help one’s own family or friends.

 

By Mamadou Diouf

Translation: Alicja Kosim

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Overcoming barriers

Anyone who travels knows this first barrier when arriving to a new place. This barrier is native speech of course!

None of adults wants to become voiceless suddenly because of language barrier. A riddle: universal language, neither English, nor Esperanto. What’s the language? The answer  is: body language – your hands and face expressions, gesticulation in general. This will help in some situations. Unfortunately, it is useless when asking more detailed questions concerning living or everyday problems. Quite frankly, as a newcomer I would not have any idea how to ask: “where’s the foreigners office, my visa is about to expire”. Language is the basic tool, useful not only for integration.

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Projekt ‘MIEJSKI SYSTEM INFORMACYJNY I AKTYWIZACYJNY DLA MIGRANTÓW’ jest współfinansowany z Programu Krajowego Funduszu Azylu, Migracji i Integracji oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

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Projekt LOKALNE POLITYKI MIGRACYJNE - MIĘDZYNARODOWA WYMIANA DOŚWIADCZEŃ W ZARZĄDZANIU MIGRACJAMI W MIASTACH był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt ‘WARSZAWSKIE CENTRUM WIELOKULTUROWE’ był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW Projekt realizowany był przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi Unii Europejskiej.