Building Bridges Toolkit

The Toolkit was designed to collect and share the know-how on voluntary projects involving people seeking or who have recently found refuge, as well as raising awareness on forced migration in general. The collection of guidelines, methods and case studies is non-exhaustive and should simply foster your own inspiration and support you in implementing projects on the topic. The creation of the Toolkit has been driven by the ever bigger need of the international SCI network to exchange best practices on projects in the field. It was coordinated by SCI Switzerland with the support of Útilapu Hungary. Its existence wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Mercator Foundation Switzerland and the active contribution of the Building Bridges working group and a number of SCI branches.


When a volunteer is working for several months in a project with asylum seekers and refugees, for example in form of an international long-term project or regular activities, some questions have to be considered. When volunteers are placed directly in reception centers for asylum seekers, they could easily replace employees, which has to be avoided.

We collected some basic Do’s and Don’ts for tasks of SCI volunteers:


Substitution of employees, for example:

  • Administrative work
  • Main responsibility for individuals (as the needed education is missing on the volunteers’ side and therefore the refugees would be unprofessionally accompanied)

Do-s (good example of tasks for long-term volunteers):

  • Management of local volunteers’ activities in centers. For instance in The Refugee Project, co-coordinated by CVS Bulgaria, local volunteers sign up for activities and lessons that they want to give for 4 months, 2 hours or more per week. The long-term volunteer’s task is to coordinate these local volunteers and activities (prepare volunteers agreements, communicating, scheduling but not being present him-/herself).
  • Empowerment projects for refugees: coordinate refugees offering language courses, cooking classes and asking the local participants for donations (example from an Austrian organization KAMA), supporting the organization of intercultural evenings, human libraries, etc.)
  • Offer research and link asylum seekers to existing structures (first map offers from NGO’s active in the field and then create a database project with local offers).


      You can share your experience, observations, tips and tricks, pictures etc. by uploading for instance a method or a case study to the Building Bridges Toolkit. As this Toolkit is a work in progress to which all involved parties are invited to contribute, we would also be very grateful for your support and contribution in order to inspire others to continue the work towards peace and intercultural understanding.