For how long have you been working on the idea of a transnational information platform?
The seed of this project was laid back in 2012 when my colleague Nataša Rogelja and I collaborated with the Employment Service of Slovenia on their large scale project providing one stops shop for migrant workers in Slovenia. We then prepared a list of services that would be useful for migrants in Slovenia and where thinking even then to expand this into the wider information platform – a tool that would be useful for migrants coming to Slovenia as well as for the public authorities that are meeting migrants on a daily basis. When the one stop shop ceased to exist in 2015 the plans almost died out. Still, we recognized that the need for this platform exists even 5 years later – and by no means only because of the refugee movements – and this gave us an impetus to push our agenda further.
How did it finally become the so called Danube Compass?
In developing this idea we have found out that would be actually easier to find financing for this in an international, multi-stakeholder environment. For this reason, we have started to look for partners in the neighbouring countries that recognized the same need. After we decided to try to apply to Danube Transnational Program other partners from the Danube region joined, which then led to the final idea of the transnational platform Danube Compass.
What was the most pleasant moment for you and your team so far?
There were many pleasant moments; seeing the collaboration among partners evolving, being successful in reporting and seeing in eMS how much we have already done; getting to know people who work on the project really well and forming friendships, talking to our end users – migrants and public authorities representatives on their struggles and learning how our efforts could be more supportive… But if I would have to isolate one thing it would without a doubt be great joy when I am seeing our platform Danube Compass slowly coming together – the nice design being filled with information that hopefully will give people access to greater opportunities and easier life. And in all these great languages and beautiful scripts.
The launch of the Danube Compass is very close: What are you hoping for?
I am hoping for a big splash in the beginning (as I said numerous times at partners meetings) and then continuous rise in users through the following months. I am very happy with the collaboration with numerous governmental bodies and NGO sector that transpired through evolvement of Danube Compass and hoping that these collaborations as well as a very tangible and concrete tool that Danube Compass is will bring about positive change in enabling migrants –in a broadest sense encompassing asylum seekers, refugees, students, professional peripatetics and other mobile individuals - access to information in an easier and more user-friendly way.
What is your next project of your colleagues and you?
At Slovenian Migration Institute we are always on the lookout for new projects that would enable to fulfill our goals, being purely research-oriented or an intervention in a particular aspect of migration and integration issues. Still, among our priorities now is to find continuous funding that would allow us and other DRIM partners to further sustain and develop Danube Compass.