Who We Are
WHO WE AREThe International Organization for Migration (IOM) is part of the United Nations System as the leading inter-governmental organization promoting since 1951 humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all, with 175 member states and a presence in over 100 countries. IOM has had a presence in Belgium since 1973.
Our WorkAs the leading inter-governmental organization promoting since 1951 humane and orderly migration, IOM plays a key role to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through different areas of intervention that connect both humanitarian assistance and sustainable development. IOM in Belgium and Luxembourg provides a comprehensive response to the humanitarian needs of migrants, returnees and host communities.
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This toolbox has been developed to train frontline professionals who work with unaccompanied migrant children (UMC) in reception. It aims to familiarize frontline workers with the topic of Sexual and Gender-based violence and its impact on migrant children. The toolbox also includes a training manual to train UMC on the topic of SGBV, which should help them in their transition to adulthood.
All training tools in this toolbox contain mindfulness exercises that will help users reduce stress and better cope with emotions.
This toolbox was developed by ETNA - Progetto di Etnopsicologia Analitica, Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome and the City of Rome, in cooperation with The International Organization for Migration (IOM).
This toolbox contains 4 training manuals and 1 supporting video with testimonies from UMC:
- Training manual to train frontline workers working with UMC
- Additional training for intercultural mediators working with UMC
- Additional training for (legal/volunteer) guardians
- Training manual to train UMC
For more information about this toolbox, read our latest project update!
Each toolbox developed in the project has been carefully put together by our team and reviewed by a diverse panel of thematic experts at the end of 2020. The experts brought a wide variety of expertise and insights on the comprehensiveness, duplicability and practical use of the tools in other EU contexts. The experts involved in the project include field specialists, activists, academics, and specialized city services. Want to know more about our team and the experts on the UMC toolbox? Click on the drop down list below!
Meet the Team
- Silvia Spinuso
Silvia Spinuso, Focal Point IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean for Equalcity, coordinating Equalcity Steering Committee communications and actions for Italian partners.
Contact Silvia for questions, requests and additional info.
Learn more about:
This project is funded by the European Union
Meet the Experts
- Guglielmo Schininà
Guglielmo is the Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication at the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Guglielmo is an expert in mental health and psychosocial support in emergency as well as in cultural integration. In more than 25 years of experiences around the world, the focus of his work has lied on community-based approaches to working with conflict-affected and vulnerable migrant populations such as survivors of human trafficking and SGBV.
Why does Guglielmo participate in this expert panel?
"I am passionate about programs that promote the rights, protection and wellbeing of migrants, and about gender equality. Effective support services require an interdisciplinary and integrated approach. As such, I am happy to be part of a panel that brings together experts from different fields whose expertise and best practice can be of inspiration for IOM psychosocial support programs in Europe and worldwide. As a panelist, I am to advocate for the mainstreaming and the cross-cutting consideration of psychosocial and cultural wellbeing in the design and implementation of Equalcity."
Contact Guglielmo through e-mail.
Interested in the work of IOM MHPSS? Visit the webpage here.
- Irida Pandiri
Irida is the Child Protection General Manager of ARSIS in Northern Greece. ARSIS is the Non-Governmental Association for the Social Support of Youth, specializing in the social support of youth that are in difficulty or danger and in the advocacy of their rights. The main target is the prevention of youth marginalisation, the elaboration of policies which defend youth rights and the active social support towards disadvantaged young people.
Irida has over 11 years of work experience in services related to hosting and support of UMCs, working on the boarders and giving training to and supervising child protection teams.
Interested in the work of ARSIS? Visit the webpage here!
- Geertrui Serneels
Geertrui is the Director of NGO Solentra and is also a fellow for Ashoka.
As an organisation specialized in providing psychological and psycho-therapeutical help to refugees and refugee children so that the Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the United Nations is guaranteed, Solentra has built its own methodology PACCT, which was recognized by IOM in the top 3 of most promising practices to support UAMs. Starting point is that integration in the new society is the basis for well being and that any trauma therapy needs a broader support in the community in order to be effective : it takes a society to heal war trauma. Mobilization and Capacity building of all stakeholders fostering connectedness and integration of the refugees and UAM’s is a key task of a cultural sensitive trauma therapist aside the individual trauma therapy sessions.
Why does Geertrui participate in this expert panel?
"Participating in the expert panel allows Solentra to infuse her knowledge on psychological effects of migration, acculturation, trauma and resilience in the community of stakeholders fostering integration."
Interested in the work of Solentra, visit the website here.
- Margherita Occhiuto
Margherita has been employed for 43 years as a Social Worker, almost exclusively in public institutions including the Local Health Authority and the Municipality of Rome. She is retired since March 2019.
Margherita's involvement has been encompassing both protection of children and support to family relations within services aiming at preventing psychic and social distress and promoting health. She started her professional career as a social worker and then became coordinator and manager of several highly complex social services. For 15 years, she has been responsible for the Municipality of Rome’s protection services dedicated to Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMC) – which was at the time that Rome was the Italian municipality with the largest number of UMCs - implementing innovative social services and experimental interventions. At the beginning of 2020 the Superior Council of Judiciary appointed Margherita as Honorary Judge at the Juvenile Court of Rome.
Why does Margherita participate in this expert panel?
"Having witnessed the inception of the Equalcity project when I was still at work, I welcomed the role of Expert since I believe that improving the quality of interventions targeting UMCs stands as an important collective achievement to be tenaciously pursued."
- Rodolfo Mesaroli
Rudy is the Scientific Director of CivicoZero Onlus. CivicoZero is an independent organization that provides support, shelter and protection to unaccompanied foreign minors alone in Italy and guarantees respect for their rights.
Rudy's work experiences and professional interest are related mainly to the topics of unaccompanied minors protection and empowerment pathways; psychological trauma, psychosocial vulnerability and resilience; human trafficking victims.
Why does Rudy participate in this expert panel?
"I find it very challenging to contribute to the realization of a project aimed at improving the knowledge and capacity of protection system, focusing in particular on local authorities and different stakeholders involved. It constitutes a basic requirement for the achievement of a protection intervention characterized by an integrated approach and an increasing awareness."
Interested in the work of CivicoZero? Visit the website here.
- Heather Komenda
Heather is a Migrant Protection and Assistance Specialist at IOM HQ. She has is a counter trafficking professional with 15 years of experience in protection and assistance and has worked in different regions in the world, providing technical assistance and advisory services to governments in the development of legislation, national plans, referral mechanisms, etc.
Currently, she works at IOM HQ in the Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants Unit, where she draft policy, provides technical guidance, and manages projects on migrant protection and assistance, counter human trafficking, and migrant children. Her expertise therefore clearly lies in the protection and assistance for vulnerable migrants, linking migrants to protection services, protection of migrant children, working with survivors of exploitation and abuse, victims of trafficking and working with local partners to include migrants in their protection work.
Why does the Heather participate in this expert panel?
"My entire career has been focused on working with migrants who have faced violence, exploitation, abuse. Most of this work has focused on direct, person-to-person service delivery. This work is critical to addressing an individual’s needs. But I have become increasingly convinced that we need to broaden the scope and to understand and encourage the role of families and communities in participating in, supporting, and leading recovery efforts. The expert panel will be an opportunity to connect with practitioners on the frontline, and to participate in dialogue on how we can all work together to ensure that no migrant is left out of protection and assistance efforts."
Contact Heather through e-mail.
- Kristel Danel
Kristel is a Policy Officer for Refugees in the City of Ghent in Belgium.
Kristel has everyday contact with unaccompanied minors and their assistants within the shelters. She therefore has good knowledge of the challenges unaccompanied minors are facing ( education, financial, relationship with legal guardian, family reunification, mental issues…) and brings a welcome city perspective to the panel.
Why does Kristel participate in this expert panel?
"I would like to learn more on how other cities/organizations address unaccompanied minor challenges, get to know new tools/good practices and how to implement them locally."
Contact Heather through e-mail.
- Mariella De Santis
Mariella is an expert Social worker at the Office of the Under-Secretary of Italian Sate at the Health Ministry. She is also part of the Italian Council of Social Workers. Mariella is a former member of the National Authority for Childhood and Adolescents (AGIA) in Italy.
Mariella has experience in working with EU project, such as AMIF, and as a social worker, she has considerable expertise in working with non-accompanied migrant children.
- Louma Albik
Louma is the CEO and founder of SB OverSeas. She is an Immigration Consultant-Expert in the Refugees Crisis and the Syrian conflict.
Louma has more than 10 years of expertise in in refugee crisis and migration, both in Brussels and in the Middle East. Since five years, she has been building integration projects with unaccompanied minors and adult women in Brussels through the SBO project « SB Espoir » aiming at fostering integration, empowering women, children, and youth and building bridges between different cultures in order to lead to a positive change. SB espoir aims at developing actions plans and creative activities in order to give hope to UMCs and giving them opportunities to build a sustainable future.
Why does Louma participate in this expert panel?
"SBO objective is to highlight the needs and voices of the individuals we support in Brussels and in the EU more generally. We are working closely with UMCs in reception and transit centres and therefore have built a relationship of trust, which allow us to get closer to their accurate needs and expectations. Our mission is to represent their interesting by making their voices being heard."
Interested in the work of Louma? Follow her on LinkedIn.
Interested in the work of SBO? Visit the website of SBO.
- Renos Papadopoulos
Renos is Professor in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and Director of both the ‘Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees’ and of the ‘MA/PhD Programmes in Refugee Care’ at the University of Essex, UK. He is a practicing clinician, supervisor and trainer as a Clinical Psychologist, Family Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst. He has been working for many years, in many countries with different groups of people (individuals, families and communities) who were exposed to various forms of adversity – political violence and discrimination, torture, natural disasters, social marginalisation, etc.
Why does Renos participate in this expert panel?
"I could not have possibly refused when I was invited to assist with this most worthy project. Not only because some good colleagues, whose work I value immensely, are involved in ‘Equalcity’, but also because I like to connect together my various professional activities, as I find that each one of them informs and strengthens all the others, i.e. teaching, researching, supervising (clinical work and postgraduate research), doing clinical work, consulting, writing, etc. Above all, this project has all the good ingredients of an endeavour that can help unaccompanied migrant children at many different and relevant levels."
Contact Renos through e-mail.
Mr. Papadopoulos is also launching his new book early in 2021. Have a look here.
Interested in the MA/PhD in Refugee Care? Visit the webpage here.
- Catelijne Sillevis
Catelijne is a Child Psychologist and Head of the Department of behavioural scientists/ psychologists at Nidos. Nidos is a national specialized organization for guardianship of Unaccompanied Children.
Why does Catelijne participate in this expert panel?
"I think it is very important to share knowledge and experience on an international level. We can learn a lot from each other!"