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.


Event bringing women from different backgrounds together

Time needed: Event 2-5 hours + preparation time. Time you need to prepare the event depends on how much you need or want to advertise and what resources you have.

Objectives / aim: Reach refugee/asylum seeker women and encourage them to join events, courses or projects. 

Level of Difficulty: medium; depends on the size of the event, the available support of other NGOs/volunteers and available funds

Resources needed: Place, volunteers, food, music, other NGOs that work with women

Number of participants: As many as can fit in to the venue

Contact / Source: Emmi Ruohonen

Often when volunteer events are organized, most of the refugee and asylum seeker participants are men. In the integration processes as well, it seems to be more difficult to reach women and have them join events, courses or project, which has cultural causes. Additionally, in some areas there is a huge gap and negative attitudes between local people and migrants. In this case it is very important to try to bring these different groups together and create a space, where they can meet. A women’s event can be one way of doing this!

KVT Finland organized an event called “the worlds of women” together with the Awakening Awareness theme camp in eastern Finland. They had a musician from Bangladesh performing her music and presenting Bangladeshi styles and dances. They had prepared different food from all over the world, had an exhibition and local women’s associations present.

The best part was a fashion show with the volunteers presenting how women in different parts of the world dress. They had beautiful costumes from all over the world, with decoration and pictures of the area in the background.

The people joining the event were local and migrant women and children. Some women even came from the nearby town.


1. Get together a group which will be in charge of organizing the event. It can also be organized together with an SCI workcamp.

2. Consider what your budget is and what activities you can organize with it.

3. Find a venue and possible performers.

4. Will you serve food, what kind? Who will prepare it?

5. Who will you want to invite and how will you reach these people?

6. In case of performances and music, make sure that you have the equipment for it.

7. If you want to have a fashion show, start collecting clothing for this early enough.


    •  Consider that some migrant women will feel more comfortable if the event would indeed be only for women (especially if there is dancing, clothing etc.). For example in Finland some Somali women were brought to the venue by their husbands and asked us if it is only for women. Also some Afghan girls felt free to dance, which wouldn’t be approved by all men in their community.
    • If you organize the event during a workcamp, make sure that there are some interesting activities also for the male participants meanwhile.


    You can see parts of this event in the Awakening Awareness camp documentary video:


    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.