Integration works best when both refugees and those receiving them have a good understanding of each other’s expectations, cultural differences and practices.

As part of this approach, while IOM delivers pre-departure orientations about life in the UK to refugees, equally important are the sessions we offer for host communities about the backgrounds of the refugee communities with which they work.

Since 2016, IOM has therefore delivered nearly 300 Refugee Information Sessions to 6,500 participants in the UK, including local authorities, educators, health professionals, police and emergency services, employment support, social workers, civil society, housing, transportation, volunteers, and community/faith groups.

By exploring refugees’ perspectives, experiences and needs, host communities can increase their understanding and adapt their support to be even more effective by earning the buy-in of those they seek to assist. This may help reduce the adjustment period for refugees and support strong integration services.

From covering basic etiquette to the potential expectations about life in the UK, Refugee Information Sessions help host communities better understand how to collectively assist refugees to rebuild their lives and encourage participation in the local community.

We tailor our sessions to suit individual learning needs, ensuring we best meet participant goals in the process.

IOM partners with members of refugee and migrant communities to co-facilitate the sessions and provide insight into their history and culture. Our Cross-Cultural Facilitators are experts who have delivered sessions in all 12 regions of the UK.

In the UK, IOM currently offers the following information sessions (although more may be available upon request):

  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Iraq
  • Sudan
  • Somalia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Afghanistan

IOM UK can tailor information sessions to suit individual needs, including developing new sessions for requested nationalities or in specific sectors.

All sessions are CPD-certified and are tailored to the needs and interests of participants. The topics, duration and detail can vary, but the most popular sessions generally include:

  • Ancient and modern history
  • Geography and demographics
  • Cultural traditions (etiquette, clothing, holidays, diet, family)
  • Health and education systems
  • Displacement and humanitarian crises
  • Experiences of resettled refugees
  • Pre-departure support and orientation
  • Cultural adjustment

For more information, contact us at 

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Interested in engaging migrant communities around COVID-19 issues?

Our COVID-19 Session Toolkit with resources and best practices on community engagement pulled from around the world in response to the current and previous pandemics.