Paticipants tell what they learned from the latest peer-to-peer exchanges and what is ahead
Aside from popular study visits, in 2019 EU-FRANK is investing in another learning format: peer-to-peer exchange. These opportunities bring a few selected States together for a couple of days to deep-dive into one issue where States can get specific support from one another. During spring we have had Italy, Switzerland and Ireland visit the Netherlands for insights on pre-departure orientation (PDO); and later Belgium and Sweden following IOM’s PDO for the UK in Lebanon with special focus on children.
Ana Mendonça, from Switzerland, says that “learning from others allows us to improve our programs and have better arguments to implement new practices”.
- In practical terms, we could see how PDO allows states to approach sensitive subjects and that you do not necessarily need a lot of investment in order to create visual content. It was very insightful to see how a State with such a large program works with an overall strategy and the importance of a long-term approach for PDO, says Ana.
Silvia Candito, from Italy, adds:
- The peer-to-peer format allows for more insightful exchange thanks to the smaller group. I hope this will lead to adjustments in national programs and that it will eventually contribute to a harmonization of the different European procedures.
According to Jaklin Josefson, who has coordinated the exchanges around the Pre-departure orientation theme, one of the great gains of the format is the networking benefits:
- Meeting as a small group for a slightly longer period has proven very beneficial, since we learn about how other countries work and how the programs are built. It is very inspiring and, at the end of the day, it is a way of multiplying the resources we have within the EU to help one another. I hope this can continue even after the project ends – says Jaklin.
Peer-to-peer exchange opportunities are usually born directly from contacts between Member States or from a concrete issue States want to discuss.
- The possibility to use the PDO Network to create these meeting-points has been very important: we can now identify the needs of the countries and match them with someone who can contribute appropriately, according to Jaklin.
If you are interested in the upcoming peer-to-peer exchanges, do keep an eye out for our upcoming events but do not hesitate to contact us directly about it.
Author: Gabriela Prado