Our part­ner project, “The New Con­sumers,” cel­e­brates clos­ing event

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.

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A detailed photo gallery can be found here.