Home Group Pilot to Pick up where Cohorts Left Off

December 5, 2022
By Aude Sathoud

Two years after launching the first exploratory group process, aiming at bringing together migration practitioners from all over Europe, cohorts have become home groups. Network members who once were strangers are now friends, and more than ready to include new people.

Seeing familiar faces appear one after the other in their little square boxes on my computer screen, last week, I could not help but smile at the memory of my first AWoN meetings – and all they were to bring along.

An answer to needs
Redesigned on the basis of the original cohort members’ feedback, Home Groups, which first pilot was just launched at the end of November, aim at both answering Practitioners’ need to connect, nurture and strengthen their bond and integrating future members.

Groups of up to ten participants will thus be meeting four times during the next thirteen weeks. The 90-minute video-call, hosted by a volunteer member, will be dedicated to personal sharing of experiences, reflections, feelings as well as collaborative learning, exchange and topics of relevance for their work in A World of Neighbours. In between meetings, participants will conduct weekly one-on-one call with a peer of the group.

Photo: Magdalena Wernefeldt

Sabina Esp, a member of the working-group which developed the new version of the cohorts, was very happy to receive more registrations than expected for the pilot program, of which three homegroups, composed of a total of twenty-seven participants, will now be running from November to February. These groups are meant to be “run on a voluntary basis”, so that, with the material produced by the working group and currently tried out in the pilot, “any member of the network can be a host and appropriate the Homegroups” to make the most of it.

Open to the broader network
– We together can make the space for that connection, Sabina adds, enthusiastic about the generous and wide ambition of the groups, to which she wishes to welcome not only practitioners but also others from the broader AWoN network.

Dirk Ficca’s vision of an ecology of migrations indeed was to invite everyone at the table, Sabina recalls:
– People on the move, practitioners, stakeholders, politicians, people in charge of big or small organizations, so that all, whatever their position and evolving functions, can meet and engage with one another. That is where it starts, that’s where we are heading.

It’s all about people
Grateful for the trust and enthusiasm the AWoN network members have shown in the first meeting of the homegroups, Sabina now hopes for the pilot to work out and convince them and others to join the second test-runs, starting in March, so that the process can be discussed and refined before AWoN’s second annual meeting May 29 – June 2 in Hungary.

– I hope people will feel that their time investment is worth it, that they are gaining from it. And that is up to the group. I hope that we manage to create a concept that evolves with the group, a space where people feel that they can come as they are, with no need to prepare because we all are very busy and more often than not, on the verge of burnout. That’s what AWoN means and is, in the end. It’s all about the people and what we create together.

Want to know more? Write to us: contact@aworldofneighbours.org