The project DRIM started in January 2017 with a very clear objective: the development of a tool that would gather the most important information on a specific country to facilitate the economic integration of migrants in the Danube Region. The migrants find themselves in a new environment in which information is scarce, confusing and complicated to understand because it is mainly in the local languages, even in cases when it is not very difficult to obtain. The public authorities, sectorial agencies and NGOs that work with migrants are overwhelmed by their job and they sometimes cannot offer the needed information because it is scarce, confusing, complicated and difficult to obtain, even for them. This is the context in which the idea of Danube Compass started to develop and during the past year the Consortium has been working in order to develop the information tool, which intends to be an innovative solution to these challenges. Although this channel of communication is effective and simple; there are certain updates that need to be regularly made to ensure the adequacy of the tool. Since the very beginning of the implementation of DRIM, the sustainability and the future of the project, specifically the future of the Danube Compass, has been a recurrent topic of discussion among project partners and associated strategic partners. The Consortium has worked intensively on developing ideas and strategies that would increase the impact of the Danube Compass and ensure its sustainability in the long term.
During a capitalization event of the project DRIM in Graz, the University of Technology of Graz presented a follow-up project idea that offers a solution to the topic of sustainability of the DRIM project: the development of a chatbot in form of a mobile phone app, which would use the information compiled for the Danube Compass in order to offer it to the users –both migrants and citizens as well as public institutions – in a more interactive and tailored way. The team of the University of Technology of Graz stated that one of the more arduous jobs while creating an information tool was the collection and structure of information and this task is already completed for 8 different countries and it will be found in different languages as well. The implementation of such a project would also mean an increased impact of the project DRIM and its outputs in the long term.
The University of Technology of Graz, with the support of the department of Asylum and Integration of Caritas and the DRIM Lead Partner, Slovenian Migration Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, has decided to apply for SEED Money Facility, a programme within the frame of Interreg Danube Transnational Programme that is meant to provide support for the development of complex strategic transnational projects in one of the Priority Areas of the EUSDR. In our case, we chose Priority Area 9: People & Skills. This program offers the opportunity to work on the development of a long-term project that will enable the partnership to plan a project that continues with the mission of DRIM.
The deadline for this application was on December 7th and the results are expected to be published by the beginning of 2018.
We believe this project offers great opportunities and will be able to have a positive impact in the receiving societies, among migrants and in the public administration sector. The effective flow of information means a better understanding among the actors that play a role in the economic and overall integration of migrants.