Communication is critical to successful integration of refugees in Europe.

This report investigates how public and third sector organisations can improve communication with refugees to support integration. It looks at the communications and media preferences and behaviours of refugees alongside best practice in communications, digital and social media.

Violence, war and persecution have created over 21 million refugees worldwide In 2015, there were almost 1.26 million asylum applications in Europe – with nearly 900,000 arrivals in Germany alone. This unprecedented scale of displacement strained limited reception and integration facilities across the continent. Amid frequent legislative and administrative changes, newcomers have struggled to access accurate, appropriately translated, authoritative information.

Effective communications will facilitate efficient and transparent processing of asylum applications, access to services, participation in civil society and democratic processes, and shared values and behaviours.

Finding

Refugees communicate differently depending on their literacy, language, access to technology and content preferences.

Recommendation

Communication channels, formats and content should be as diverse as the refugees they serve.

Conduct detailed research into the needs of specific user groups and adapt the channels, formats, languages, design and navigation of communications accordingly. Recognise refugees’ heterogeneity by offering communications in multiple formats, online and offline.
I ignore lengthy emails or messages I receive because I suffer in reading long texts.
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Finding

Refugees often prefer known channels to new ones.

Recommendation

Start by communicating in the channels that refugees already use most.


Before creating new digital channels such as websites and apps, consider how such channels will reach the target audience. Consider offering services and information via existing social media channels which are already widely used by the target group.

I follow Facebook pages that give information... I trust them because they are my countrymen and they try to help their fellow countrymen.
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Finding

Refugees value authoritative information from trusted sources.

Recommendation

Build trust by clearly branding official channels and working with community influencers.


Consider the best ‘messenger’ for each piece of communication. Use digital community organisers and influencers for reach and cultural translation. Working within already popular channels such as Facebook, think about how to clearly distinguish ‘official’ sources to increase trust.
I trust information from the government, unlike false information that is spread.
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