Not Alone In Europe

Topics:Refugee Inclusion; Equity; Youth Empowerment; Youth Participation; Youth Work; Youth Policy; Asylum Seekers; Inclusion Matters; LGBTQI Advocacy; Change Makers

We are thrilled to announce the successful completion of the “Not Alone in Europe” project, a Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices initiative under the Erasmus+ program. This strategic partnership for youth brought together organizations from Estonia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey to address the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ young migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers (YMRA) in Europe.

The “Not Alone in Europe” project aimed to address the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ young migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers (YMRA), who are among the most vulnerable groups in European society. The project recognized that the group not only faces harassment, displacement, and discrimination but also the risk of unfair legal judgments. By building upon previous findings and aligning with the aspirations of the BpE (Becoming a part of Europe) report, the project sought to support and empower the target group while promoting their social inclusion. It identified the need for enhanced professional competencies and sensitivity to prevent multiple discrimination and harassment in the future. Through the development of activities, materials, and guidelines, the project aimed to train and equip youth workers, educators, and community mediators. While institutional projects and initiatives existed at higher levels, the grassroots level of civil society had yet to fully understand and address these issues.


As process leaders within BpE, RFSL Ungdom got an insight into how few actors in European civil society actually specialize in LGBTQI+ issues within the field of migration and asylum. As a result, we made it our goal to connect youth workers and organizations from different parts of Europe so they could better cooperate and learn from each other. Since most of them were unfamiliar with intersectionality and LGBTQI+ issues, the participating organizations wanted to gain more knowledge to work more effectively with YMRA.

A key objective of ours was to:

1. To empower, engage, inspire and support LGBTQI+ YMRA in European countries.
2. To develop training competencies and support youth workers, educators, community mediators and social workers who are meeting LGBTQI+ YMRA on how to better include intersectionality and LGBTQI+ perspectives in their activities.
3. To generate synergies for networking and cooperation strategies among youth organizations working with LGBTQI+ YMRA in Europe.
4. To create innovative youth work and intersectional methodological tools that can be disseminated to associated partners and other organizations in order to share the outputs and experiences of the project.

The main target of the project is to work for, with and by youth migrants and refugees together with youth workers and practitioners from the partner organizations. In all phases of the project, both groups were included to the extent allowed by visa regulations and Covid travel restrictions.

In order to be considered for the program, each participant had previously applied for one of the open calls that we had
on our social media platforms. Each coordination team selected the participants based on a mixture of applications and
in-person interviews that were conducted by the members of the coordination team. As part of the participation strategy,
partners and organizers pay special attention to ensuring gender balance and ensuring the participation of youth
migrants and refugees together with youth workers. The participants were committed and engaged to act as multipliers
in their local contexts and motivated to build bridges between communities by supporting youth-led groups engaging in
inclusive youth work that promotes human rights and democratic values.

With the support of the partner organisations, and especially RFSL Ungdom, we made special efforts to ensure that
those participants with fewer opportunities were able to participate in the event. The team at the beginning was well
aware of the fact that some of the participants who we expected to be part of the local development of the project would
be unable to participate in the mobilities due to the fact that they had a specific status (asylum seekers, migrants in the
process of regularization, etc.). That is why it was so important to generate the Multiplier events, which would contribute
to the intellectual output development from all perspectives.

Each of the organizations made a commitment to create, motivate, and foster local groups of their own. These local
groups were supported by coordinators from each of the partner organizations, which helped them develop their
competencies and prepare the activities for the future. A special focus was placed on the development of competences
on cultural sensitivity during the course of the program. It was important to be conscious of the cultural diversity in the
group when planning the courses and logistics, including, for instance, the appropriateness of the spaces and the
availability of food.

The project activities were divided into five different categories. Preparation, training, multiplier events, transnational project meetings, and intellectual outputs. The outcomes of the "Not Alone in Europe" project have exceeded our initial expectations. We successfully achieved our objectives across various project activities.

  1. Capacity Building: Through a certified multiplier workshop, 42 practitioners and LGBTQI+ YMRA developed training competencies. They gained the necessary skills to implement "Not Alone in Europe" workshops in their local areas. The capacity-building activities fostered collaboration between youth migrants, refugees, and youth workers in developing local strategies for social inclusion.

    In these Capacity Building activities, youth migrants and refugees worked together with youth workers to develop local activities and strategies related to social inclusion and to implement the Multiplier events. Despite the fact that we were unable to bring the entire local teams to these training activities, we were confident that the selected participants would develop their youth work competencies and pass on their knowledge and experiences to future local team members. As part of the event, partners and organizers specifically targeted the participation of young migrants and refugees, as well as youth workers, with gender balance and cultural diversity being ensured. Using both an application form and personal interviews, the coordination team selected participants based on the specified profile. Each coordinator selected a maximum of four participants from their local teams. The motivation of the participants and their involvement in the local development process was particularly important.

  2. Multiplier Events: Thirteen multiplier events were conducted across partner countries, reaching a total of 421 participants. These events focused on training professionals working directly with refugees, such as social workers, educators, psychologists, lawyers, and volunteers. The events provided support on integrating intersectionality and LGBTQI+ perspectives into their work, promoting cultural sensitivity, and engaging vulnerable categories such as LGBTI+ YMRA.

    For the multiplier events, we sought to engage as many professionals working directly with refugees as possible in the multiplier events to train and develop competencies and provide support on how to better include intersectionality and LGBTI+ perspectives in their work. It included social workers, special pedagogues, educators, psychologists, lawyers, volunteers, activists, managers, security officers, and assistants in the youth support program, as well as translators and cultural mediators who work with refugees and should be sensitive to vulnerable categories such as LGBTI+ YMRA.

    The program attracted participants from the public sector, mostly social services, as well as the private sector from organizations that provide refugee-related psychosocial and psychiatric support, educational services, and legal representation. A special focus was placed on supporting the participation of targets with fewer opportunities (Refugees, Social obstacles, Disability, Economic obstacles, Cultural differences, Geographical obstacles) by RFSL Ungdom and the partner organizations. In order to ensure the full participation of those participants facing economic and geographic barriers, the organization established a system of financial support. We were aware that part of the profiles we expect to contribute at a local level to the development of the project will not be able to join the mobilities due to their status (asylum seekers, migrants seeking regularization,...). Hence, the Multiplier events were crucial to creating the space for bringing all these perspectives together for intellectual output development.

    The commitment of each organization was to foster local groups and motivate them to succeed. As part of the project, coordinators from each of the partner organizations supported these local groups, promoted competence development, and prepared activities for the local groups. Intercultural sensitivity has been a priority in the program. In addition to accommodating cultural diversity in the group, the course programs and logistics were also culturally sensitive. In addition to wheelchair accessibility, we provided mental health support with a psychiatrist and included daily reflection sessions.

  3. Networking and Cooperation: The project fostered networking and cooperation strategies among youth organizations working with young refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers in Europe. These efforts aimed to create a supportive network and facilitate follow-up developments at both local and European levels. Our website's Google LGBTQI+ Map, with over 2380 views, serves as a valuable resource for further collaboration.

  4. Innovation Intellectual Outputs: The project produced two innovative intellectual outputs to advance youth work practices concerning LGBTQI+ asylum seekers, migrants, and refugee-seeking youth.

    - Intellectual Output 1: A how-to guidebook focused on innovative youth work practices, drawing on the experiences and knowledge of the Newcomers Youth project. This guidebook provides valuable insights into working with young LGBTQI+ asylum seekers, undocumented individuals, and migrants.

    - Intellectual Output 2: The creation of innovative youth work methodologies and intersectional practices, including guidelines, methodological approaches, and activity proposals. These materials, rooted in human rights education and Living Library methodologies, offer practical tools for promoting inclusion and supporting LGBTQI+ YMRA.

Our national teams have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, professionalism, and dedication. Each team, in its unique way, has brought a wealth of expertise, cultural perspectives, and innovative approaches that have been crucial to the success of Not Alone in Europe. 

On behalf of RFSL Ungdom and the entire "Not Alone in Europe" project, I, Haris Eloy the Project and Team Manager, express our deepest gratitude to each member of our teams. It is your hard work and commitment that has truly made the difference. Thank you for your outstanding dedication and for making this project a remarkable testament to what we can achieve together.

Serbian Team:
Coordinator Jelena Đurđević with team members Filip Vulović, Isak Bjeletic, Jelena Stefanovic and Mihailo Sekulovic

Italian Team:  
Coordinator Irene Pasini with team members Cinzia Dimonte, Tony Andrew, Marta Rohani & Alberto Nicolini

Spanish Team:
Coordinator Xavier Baró Urbea with team members Laura Huguet Fernández, Roser Cañellas Llagostera & Marianela Paz Clinaz

Estonian Team:
Coordinator Ljubov Lissina with team members Anrike Sagadi & Erika Tšerkašina

Greek Team:
Coordinator Sannas Dimitrios with team members Anna Papapzoglou & Georgios Papadimitriou.
Shout out to the previous coordinators Marianna Kallipoliti & Vasiliki Tzevelekou

Turkish Team:
Coordinator Jawid Babai with team members Ireme Tugcu,  Semih Yolalan and Sinem Demir

Swedish Team
Coordinator Haris Eloy with team members Tine Alavi, Ines Anttila. Alexandra Politidis Palm

A special note of gratitude goes to Adrian Alvarez Rodriguez, Fernando Damazio dos Santos, Sevgi Ilgezdi, Marie Riquier, Armine Movsesyan, Katerina Repetska and Doha Faraj. Your contributions have not gone unnoticed and are greatly appreciated.

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