“The New Consumers”, our project in partnership with iRights e.V., celebrated its closing event on 19 June and presented its practical guidelines to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).
“The new consumers” deals with the questions of how digital information services need to be designed so that it can be used and understood by refugees. What are the specific needs, as consumers, of those who have fled conflict and adversity, and how can meaningfully designed consumer protection contribute to their integration in Germany?
Around 150 guests came to the Gustav Heinemann Hall of the BMJV ministry buildingin Berlin’s Mohrenstrasse to experience an informative and entertaining evening featuring a colorful program.
Sophie Passmann moderated the evening, whose speakers included not only the iRights e.V. Board of Directors and its Project Manager, Philipp Otto, but also the State Secretary in the BMJV, Gerd Billen, the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, State Minister Annette Widmann-Mauz, the Program Manager of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Prototype Fund, Fiona Krakenbürger, the Consumer Policy Division Manager at the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.), Ingmar Streese, and Israa Alsasa, the “New Consumers” project’s honorary ambassador.
Both State Secretary Billen and State Minister Widmann-Mauz stressed the importance of access to digital infrastructure and the comprehensibility of internet services for people with migration histories. If overly bureaucratic formulations and lingo already cause problems for German native speakers, how should migrants be expected to deal with them? “Who of us actually understands the definition of a cosmetic repair in a rental contract?” asked Billen.
Next, project member Ulrike Thalheim presented the results of the project. Above all, she stressed, when using digital offerings to inform consumers about issues that impact them, it is important to maintain a focus on the target group. In the future, more information should be made available on social media, dialogue through digital channels should be further developed, and simple German and refugee’s native languages need to be used. There is no question that refugees use websites, apps, social media and other digital platforms for information. According to Thalheim, target-group-oriented digital information therefore increases the chances that refugeeswill be able to find their way more easily in Germany and to integrate more successfully.
Following the presentation, State Secretary Billen presented certificates of thanks to the project’s everyday ambassadors – young people with refugee experiences who are an essential part of the “New Consumers” project and who featured in a specially produced film. They worked closely with the iRights team and were key contacts on how fugitives can find their way as consumers in our digital society.
Another highlight of the evening was the talk by Vladimir Kaminer, who discussed in his incomparable and entertaining way his personal experiences and observations about the everyday life of Germans and fugitives.
The official part of the evening was rounded off by a panel discussion on how to improve the information and media skills of refugees and how to dismantle barriers to integration.
Coinciding with the conclusion of the project was the publication of a handbook, which has been received with great interest by the public. HERE you can download the handbook as a PDF.
Here is the film about the project’s everyday ambassadors.
A detailed photo gallery can be found here.