Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Migration - 31.01.2023

How user-friendly platforms make municipalities more inclusive
Settling down in a new country can be frightening. Especially if you don’t speak the language(s) and don’t have a supportive community to guide you. Administrative issues, different rights and duties, the local job market… Where and how do you even start?

In Schaerbeek, a municipality of the city of Brussels, newcomers found the answer to this question in the form of VIA asbl. VIA is a reception path that welcomes and supports newly arrived immigrants. This programme helps them understand how Belgian society works so that they can live independently and better participate in the social, economic and cultural life of their new home.

VIA has an online platform that offers all the information on the reception programme. In collaboration with BRULOCALIS and with the support of the IncluCities project, they have updated some features and made improvements to make it more inclusive.

First, they translated the website into eleven further languages: Farsi, Dari, Pashto, English, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Portuguese and Dutch. Second, they also made it more easily readable and didactic. For example, as data shows that many migrants coming to the city cannot read, they added an audio option. They also used pictograms to illustrate the content. Finally, they created a new page with concrete, useful information and addresses. With this additional page, any newcomer has access to useful information, whether or not they decide to participate in the reception path programme. Thanks to the newly improved VIA website - the IncluCities one stop-shop - the Schaerbeek municipality is becoming even more  make inclusive and welcoming for every newcomer.

If you want to know more about this inclusive project, check out the new online platform (in French).
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