This article will address the results that have been achieved thus far in the PITCH project in Malmö, Sweden, in terms of recruiting participants, the organisation of cozy corners and individual profiling.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2023, SwIdeas together with its local partners in Malmö has been reaching out to foreign-born women to hold spaces of discussion regarding integration issues that they are facing, and what they would like to learn more about throughout this project.
This article will highlight the results of these meetings, the method employed and the characteristics of group that was formed at the end to participate in the activity programme that launched at the end of September 2023.
SwIdeas is based in Malmö and is supported by Malmö municipality in the implementation of the PITCH project. In the preparation of the activity programme and in reaching out to foreign-born women we have been coordinating with other local actors that are working in the field of integration, entrepreneurship, civil society, digitalisation and education.
As there are many initiatives in the city that are targeting migrant women, or working with inclusion issues in general, we wanted to ensure that we are not duplicating other organisations’ activitives, but rather complementing them. Therefore we are cooperation with these organisations either by using their venues for the planned trainings, the cozy corners and the invididual profiling meetings and educational activities. The women that participated in these activities are between 20 and 65 years of age and come from Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Jordan, Palestine, Bosnia, India, Brazil.
In the holding of the cozy corners with women of various national and educational backgrounds, one thing has become clear: the large majority of these women struggle with integration in one way or another, and many of their stories resemble each other – whether they cannot find work in their field, or they experience discrimination and feel excluded and alone.
There seems to be a need for additional support for migrant women in addition to what is already offered by the state and the municipality. Most of all there is a need for safe spaces and for women to feel that they are not alone in facing these challenges- and this is what the space held during the cozy corners has offered them.
Another aspect is that even though many of the women have lived in Sweden for many years already, there are several important topics that they do not have enough information about, especially when it comes to their rights as women, and in terms of labor rights but also the opportunities and support that is available for anyone wanting to start their own company.
In this way there appears to be a need for spaces where foreign-born women can express their needs and interests, as well as avenues that offer information that is needed when living in Sweden. Indeed, we noticed that the sessions offered on rights and duties were very popular when the participants were designing their individual plans.
In the carrying out of these project activities, we have had positive feedback from other organisations and institutions working on a similar topic, mainly because of the individualized approach that the PITCH project offers, which is not often the case in similar projects. This approach means that the participants can themselves choose which sessions they are the most interested in, and that they feel would benefit them the most. The paricipants also appreciated this approach as it made them feel that their unique situation, knowledge and experience was valued. Moreover, the safe space provided in the cozy corners led to the women feeling relaxed and in some cases vulnerable to share their personal stories.
The activity programme launched on 28 September and the classes will run every week until the end of February 2024, with a 3-week break over the Christmas holidays. The activities will focus on upskilling in Swedish language, digital skills, entrepreneurship; awareness raising on rights and duties and social activities of interaction with the local community. There are approximately 3-4 activities per week which are taking place in different locations across the city, at SwIdeas cooperation partners, some of which are also assisting in the educational sessions and study visits.
SwIdeas, Sweden: email@example.com