Exclusive Series: European Initiatives for An Inclusive Society

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How are initiatives from grassroot organisations and public sector helping to shape the narrative on inclusion, integration and diversity in society? In this exclusive series, we get behind the European initiatives to understand their work and challenges, and what it means to them to have a truly diverse and multicultural society.

The Oslo Desk was invited to contribute to a third study visit of the Family+ project in Oslo under a three-day conference between 11th and 13th March 2020. Founder and investigative journalist, Ka Man Mak, was due to give a talk on the investigations she has conducted over the years in Oslo and to moderate a panel discussion. In addition, she and her team were to produce a podcast to highlight the initiatives that were to present at the conference.

The project aims to overcome the social exclusion of families through family education and empowerment activities, adapted to the needs of the disadvantaged and migrant families. Therefore the conference is part of exchanging knowledge and practices between cities: Stuttgart, Germany; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Oslo, Norway. However, the conference was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown measures that officially took place on 12th March.

In collaboration with Oslo VO Rosenhof, an adult learning centre, and funded by Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, are we able to produce a podcast season and series of articles under the title, ‘European Initiatives for An Inclusive Society’.

We had conversations with Swedish organisations like Beatrice Alger and Randi Myhre from Forum Skill where they focused on using social enterprises to incorporate on-the-job learning and language acquisition; as well as Ann-Britt Svensson and Marianne Lööf from Kvinno Center who touched upon political integration and empowering women through various activities; and with Peter Wahl and Nesrin Tyurksyoz from the German’s public sector, Elternseminar that provides cross-cultural family education service, who reflected on the collaborative efforts that must start with openness; Helge Hinse from Ettlinger Women and Family Centre using food as a vehicle to learn the German language and culture; and with staff from Norwegian public sector programs where we dived deep into the pathways of adult learning and hurdles; and lastly a community initiative, Bydelsmødre, translated as District Mothers, saving lives by tearing down language barriers by using cultural-bridging mothers.

Social inclusion is a multi-dimensional and cross-sectional issue. I know people in cities like Oslo, Stuttgart and Gothenburg who are engaged in the social dimension of sustainable development. Who are they? What are their thoughts about diversity and integration?

Valborg svånå, project coordinator to family+ project and oslo vo rosenhof

Podcast cover by Ka Man Mak and Kriti Thepade.  
Podcast production by Ka Man Mak and Alex Whateley.  
Articles by Maria Cecelia Ingles

List of All Podcast Episodes and Articles:

Read Article: Sweden’s Forum Skill: Looking Beyond Language Barriers To Foster A Diverse Workforce

Read Article: Elternseminar’s Rucksack Program: Integrating Immigrant Families in Germany

Read Article: Women Empowerment and Integration: The Kvinnocenter in Sweden

Read Article: Norwegian Public Sector Initiatives: Integration through Job Training and Language Education

Read Article: Bydelsmødre: Community Initiative For Women Helping Women

Read Article: Norwegian Public Sector Initiatives: Integration through Job Training and Language Education

Read Article: Norwegian Public Sector Initiatives: Integration through Job Training and Language Education

Read Article: Ettlinger’s Women and Family Centre: Where Food Becomes a Vehicle for Learning Cultures

And in collaboration with Oslo Municipality.

Disclaimer: The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Ka Man Mak

Ka Man is an investigative journalist, documentary photographer, and social entrepreneur, as well as the founder of The Oslo Desk. She is a British-born Hong Konger residing in Oslo, Norway. She holds a Master in Environmental Geoscience and have taken numerous diplomas including child psychology, and a course in big data analytics at OsloMet. Made numerous publications in newsletters, magazines and Norwegian newspapers. Interested in edtech, constructive journalism, women in migration, Cantonese language, alternatives to capitalism and asylum policy.