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.

METHODS AND TOOLS serve to support your work on the topic of refugees and migration with different target groups.


Human rights, refugees, raising awareness

Time needed: 2 weeks for the workcamp itself and a lot of time to organize beforehand

Objectives / aim: Give volunteers ideas, information and methodology, raise awareness about the topic on local level 

Level of Difficulty: Hard; you have to organize the camp coordination, communication with locals, funding, camp framework 

Resources needed: Budget for organizing a camp, coordinators for the camp, venue, co-operative partners on the local level, volunteers for the camp, information and resources to run workshops and activities 

Number of participants: 2-3 coordinators and 10-15 participants 

Contact / Source: Emmi Ruohonen

KVT Finland has organized two theme workcamps around the topic of migration and human rights. They were both part of the Global Education initiative, which was funded by the Foreign Ministry’s development co-operation fund.

The first camp was a school visit camp, where a group of international volunteers and asylum seekers living in Finland prepared global education workshops that were held in schools in Lapland. The first week was used for the group to discuss and study global education themes and topics and to plan the workshops. The second week of the camp was then used to organize and held these workshops in the schools of Rovaniemi and Kemi.

The second camp was a human rights camp concentrating mostly on forced migration and racism through the topics of minorities and asylum seekers. In the beginning they did workshops to study the subjects. The camp was held in a town that is facing a lot of racism and intercultural conflicts. The volunteers of the international workcamp prepared events such as a human library, a football match, a Worlds of women event and they visited local schools and elderly houses to raise awareness about the issues. 

In a thematic workcamp it is important to work together with the locals, who know the people, the area and the places. You should also carefully think if the aim is to raise awareness, or to study the theme with the group, or both.

The target group depends on what topics and methods you decide to use, and who you involve. In KVT’s camps the participants have been both international SCI volunteers and asylum seekers. In the school visit camp the target group was schools, youth but also local general public. In the awareness raising camp, they tried to included all groups in different activities.


1. Discuss what kind of resources you need in order to organize such a camp and whether you have them.

2. If you need to apply for funding, apply for it early enough in order to guarantee the camp really takes place.

3. Contact local people and NGO’s of the area and start planning possible events and co-operation with them. Visit the venue.

4. Who would be in this camp? Do you want only international volunteers or also for instance local asylum seekers? How do you select volunteers?

5. Make a camp description and upload it on the OPS

6. Select the volunteers and camp coordinators.

7. Delegate tasks also to the camp coordinators.

8. Start planning the activities and schedule on a more concrete level.


  • Consider asking an additional motivation letter from volunteers, in order to make sure that they are motivated and will be able to contribute to the topic of the workcamp.
  • Make sure that volunteers can all contribute to the activities, but that they also get enough free time. Often the program in such thematic camps can be quite intensive.
  • The coordinators should visit the venue beforehand, so that planning events can be concrete and realistic from the beginning.
  • Consider having someone outside of the group to be preparing meals, as volunteers will be quite busy planning the activities and preparing themselves in the study sessions and workshops.


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.