Watch the video with Chloë here.
Who is Chloë Angé?
Chloë Angé is a project coordinator at the non-profit association VIA. VIA is a welcome office for new entrants also known as Bureau d'Accueil pour Primo-Arrivants or BAPA in short). Chloë coordinates the activities of the CAMIM project, the French acronym for "Cocreation for a better reception and integration of migrants in Brussels", a project funded within the framework of the Cocreation project call. This three-year research project, supervised by ULB and the non-profit association VIA, enabled cocreation work with newcomers. After the end of the funding of this research in March 2021 the activities of the asbl VIA are being continued and developed internally.
CAMIM = a Volunteer Cell + a Self-confidence Module + an Immersion House
The CAMIM project originated from the idea of setting up activities with newcomers that complement the reception programme offered by VIA. In the framework of this project, three activities were developed:
- a Volunteer Cell that offers newcomers the opportunity to do volunteer work within a network of partner associations in Brussels;
- a Self-confidence Module that offers newcomers a moment to take stock of the skills they have developed in the course of their journey, in order to work on their projects and integrate themselves in Belgium;
- the Immersion House, which is a space where they can practice their French informally over a cup of tea or coffee and by means of a small animation.
Social innovation in the CAMIM project
The innovative aspect layscocreatief in the fact that the newcomers were at the centre of this project, but also and especially in the fact that they were the actors and subjects of their own integration. Newcomers are often the object of policies that concern them, not only in the field of integration but in general in relation to policies on migration issues. With the CAMIM project it was decided to develop non-mandatory activities that meet their individual needs, considering them as experts on integration issues. Newcomers know what they need to find their place here in Brussels.
Thanks to the support of Innoviris...
The CAMIM project brought together academic researchers, social workers and newcomers. Conducting cocreative research requires adapting the usual roles played by each actor and working together on the basis that no one's knowledge prevails over another's.. This requires an adapted attitude and the right tools to cooperate and experience things differently. Thanks to the support of Innoviris, the project team was able to take the time to find these tools, spaces and new ways of working.
Brussels is brimming with innovative ideas
For Chloë, Brussels is a city of innovation, and this is mainly due to the fact that there is a very strong network of associations and a very high level of citizen involvement. Brussels stands out for the richness of its civil society, where partnerships, joining forces and innovative ideas abound.
The journey of a newcomer, as from his arrival at VIA
With the CAMIM project, the non-)profit organisaton VIA has developed activities that are complementary to the reception programme, which is the main task of as the Brussels equivalent of the Walloon and Flemish integration programmes. Chloë explains:
When someone enters VIA, we first check if he/she is eligible for the reception programme. To do so, they must meet the criteria of a newcomer: be non-Belgian, be over 18 years old, be registered in the foreigners' register of one of the 19 Brussels municipalities and have a legal residence permit for less than three years and for more than three months. If the person is eligible, they will be received in their own language and accompanied by a social worker. The social worker will carry out both a linguistic and a social assessment in order to provide the person concerned with individualised socio-professional support (housing, administration, employment, family situation, etc.) and will ask him/her to enrol in French courses up to level A2.
In addition to individual support, two training courses are offered as part of the reception programme. A first course of 10 hours on the "Rights and Duties" in Belgium, followed by a "Citizenship Course" of 50 hours on the history of Belgium, its institutions, its economic system, etc.
What she likes about her job ...
I like to analyse and understand the impact of the activities developed. In the social sector, many projects are developed, but there is little room to analyse their effects together with the participants. What is going on in their lives? What is created and what is the impact of the activities? Which assets need to be strengthened or which processes need to be changed? Being able to understand things together, to get to the heart of the matter, to analyse our practices and our experiences in order to understand their effects, that is really what I love most.
Prior to the CAMIM project, Chloë also worked on migration issues, but at a humanitarian level. She was previously involved in the reception of transmigrants or asylum seekers and that is what prompted her to work on this project. She realises that the political issues concerning the reception of transmigrants partly originate from the lack of a proper integration policy. Something that was developed only twenty years ago. Our ability or inability to live together has a major impact on the management of reception and the mobility of populations. "I realised that with this project, we could work COOPERATELY with those involved on integration issues. At that moment, I knew that we had to take the bull by the horns and see what we could improve."
Her key word for innovation
Social, because when we talk about innovation, we often think about technology, healthcare or the environment, but we rarely think about the social sector. Yet this is also a place for innovation. There is a desperate lack of financial resources. In the social sector, a lot is happening in terms of innovation, but we don't think about it right away.
3 tips for Brussels innovators:
1) Trust the questions of your audience, this will limit your risk-taking.
2) Give yourself time to experiment, take the time to go through all the phases necessary for the realisation of the project, even the difficult moments, because you can learn a lot from them.
3) Provide the necessary resources (financial and human) to succeed and avoid doing things by halves.