The last of the nine ImpleMentoring visits took place in Athens on 15-18 October
For this last visit, Amsterdam mentored Athens, with the assistance of Helsinki. The visit focused on the municipality’s drive to foster migrant participation in the Kypseli neighbourhood within an extremely difficult political context and only a few weeks after the police crackdown on the neo-Nazi party Chryssí Avgí (‘Golden Dawn’).
At the request of the municipality, the mentors from Amsterdam and Helsinki helped to identify ways to restore dialogue and communication with and between the inhabitants of a small but extremely dense part of the Kypseli area. Fokionos Negri street and Kanari Square in Kypseli are considered to be the heart of the neighbourhood. The mentors also proposed methods to foster participation, regardless of residents’ origins or legal status.
Over four days of intensive field visits and meetings, the mentoring team talked to politicians, social workers, volunteers and residents before reviewing its findings and proposing an action plan which will lead to a roadmap. Once finalised, in cooperation with Athens city officers and politicians and the mentoring team, the roadmap will be tested in Kypseli and, if successful, implemented in the other districts in Athens.
The mentoring team concluded that Athens can improve the situation by generating trust, releasing available assets, and nurturing local leadership and initiatives. City initiatives are obviously limited by national laws, but many ways can be found within city powers to reduce the isolation of vulnerable groups and encourage the community’s belief that it can promote its common interest.
A full report on the visit will be available shortly.