African Migrant Integration Project
● Overall experience in the SDG Certificate
As a team, we feel very honored to be selected to participate in this year’s SDG certificate which granted us the unparalleled opportunity to meet with students and experts from different institutions. We have designed, under the guidance of academic and scientific advisors, dedicated to facilitating the cross-culture communication between Africans and Chinese in Guangzhou city in the context of the Covid-19 global health crisis. In this project, on the one hand, we learnt a lot from outside guides, such as taking research workshops regularly and receiving suggestions from scholars. On the other hand, with different backgrounds, like economics, culture, public affairs and social innovation, we learn from each other when exploring public policy decision-making in teamwork. In addition, this SDG certificate program provided us with the chance to put what we had learned into practice, which is the ultimate meaning of studying public policy, namely, to make a change in the whole world.
Tian already had experience in project management from the FAO in 2019 to develop an SDG solution, in line with her policy stream of Social Policy and Social Innovation. She pays attention to the inequality of access to social welfare, which serves as a foundation for her taking part in the project.
Shuo has several internship experiences concerning government relations and European Affairs. She has also participated in the SDG public affairs analysis competition and has experience in quantitative analysis. She focuses on quantitative analysis and government-related affairs in the project.
Zixin comes from a human science background and has a particular interest in research on various historical, societal, and cultural factors. She is passionate about international development projects, where she can apply her multilingual communication skills and knowledge of public policy.
Yuhong majored in international relations during her undergraduate degree and had two previous internships in government departments and NGOs, allowing her to gain knowledge about analysis methods in the social science field. She is quite familiar with analyzing, designing and evaluating policy from the angle of participants.
● Project summary
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge to public health. According to statistics, by April 6th, 2020, 23% of the Covid-19 cases were imported and 73% of these cases were from African regions. Especially in Guangzhou, home to 60 thousand Africans, the relationship between locals and Africans was in tension. Africans not only have suffered from huge anxiety about the Covid-19 but also faced with increasing discrimination from society. Therefore, those Africans are suffered from discrimination.
Therefore, our aim project aims to further explore the reasons behind this situation by literature review, interviews and benchmark investigations. To prevent discrimination from happening again, we attempt to provide solutions and concrete implementations in order to build an exchange mechanism between locals and Africans in Guangzhou and promote mutual trust and respect.
Based on a multi-level interaction model, we found that the information asymmetry problems are the root cause of the misunderstanding between the local Chinese and those Africans. In general, this model reveals that the Africans in Guangzhou lack communication with the local Chinese people, the media plays a key role in intercultural communication and social context influences policies.
We draw our solution roadmap to solve this problem. Three implementations were planned, Round Table Podcasts, Interviews and AMI Buddy, which helps to influence governments’ decisions and locals’ impression of Africans through changing social climate via media and direct connection activities. Round Table Podcasts will invite guest speakers for different sessions to strengthen social media communication; the Interviews program is a 30 min dialogue to share Africans daily life situation in Guangzhou and their perception of related topics; the AMI Buddy provides a platform for Chinese and African peers to meet and be friends. Through these three implementations, we want to build a mutual trust and respect exchange mechanism among this international city, which will be a good policy reference for foreigners’ integration in more communities in near future.
Read the full summary of the project below:
AMI Project Summary
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge to public health. After effectively controlling the pandemic in the country, China began to adopt restricted regulations on international mobility and residents are more cautious about the imported cases. According to statistics, by April 6th, 2020, 23% of the Covid-19 cases were imported and 73% of these cases were from African regions. Especially in Guangzhou, home to 60 thousand Africans, the relationship between locals and Africans was in tension. Africans not only have suffered from huge anxiety about the Covid-19 but also faced with increasing discrimination from society. Due to the dissemination of fake news with distorted impressions on Africans, some of the Africans were chased out from their apartments by the landlords. Some were forced to go back to their mother country. And some of them were even restricted from going to McDonald's. This situation arouses criticism from the international society.
Therefore, our aim project aims to further explore the reasons behind this situation by literature review, interviews and benchmark investigations. To prevent discrimination from happening again, we attempt to provide solutions and concrete implementations in order to build an exchange mechanism between locals and Africans in Guangzhou and promote mutual trust and respect. This project will endeavor to advance the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals including Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
2. Research Results
Around the target group, we have done plenty of pre-investigations about the stakeholders, including those Africans themselves, the social enterprises, the NGOs and think tanks. Through interviews with them, we are able to know the main needs of those Africans, and conduct benchmark analysis including existent media campaigns, social enterprises and NGOs’ activities. In addition, the talk with the ChinaAfrica Project not only reminds us of the political bottom lines of the Chinese government on this issue but also points out potential directions and influential partners for our project.
The following multi-level interaction model has shown our research results and guided our solutions. We found that the information asymmetry problems are the root cause of the misunderstanding between the local Chinese and those Africans. In summary, we realized:
1. Local–African in Guangzhou lack of direct communication
2. Media plays a key role in intercultural communication
3. Social contexts influence policies
Therefore, to respond to those three issues, our solutions will focus on promoting people-to-people communication, building a media platform and involving a wide range of social actors.
AMI project has proposed a roadmap that associates the three pre-identified issues. Three concrete solutions will be implemented in 18 months.
The first intervention “Roundtable Podcasts” is a project in collaboration with ChinaAfrica Project, Black Livity China, two think tanks dedicated to China-Africa relations and researchers from local universities. This product will apply academic theories into daily life circumstances for the general audience so as to raise their mutual awareness between Chinese and Africans. In the frame of this activity, we plan to invite 1 Chinese or 1 African as presenters and 2-3 guest speakers from our partners. Every two weeks, a session of 30min pre-recorded podcast will be made available and free of access online. Each time we will introduce different topics but all revolving around the intercultural life of Africans and local Chinese (e.g. Chinese-African exchange in history, comparative cultural studies, etc).
Our next focus is to tackle the negative impact of media, especially the misinformation diffused rampantly on social media. In partnership with ChinaAfrica Project, we intend to organize an interview series of documentaries with 1 host and 2 or 3 interviewees each time to talk about their daily life situations and their perceptions of the relationship between ordinary Chinese and Africans. This Guangzhou-based project will be finalised with the support of experts from ChinaAfrica Project. And we would like to launch it with the WeChat platform of China House since they have accumulated a large number of subscribers.
Last but not least, the two first projects are completed by a peer-matching intervention that links locals and Africans in Guangzhou city directly in pairs so as to solve the problem of lack of direct communication and interaction. In partnership with China House and Youth Space, the AMI buddy project consists of three steps: 1) online registrations and questionnaires of matching；2) Match according to interests, needs, services and 3) onsite training about intercultural communication and suggested activities. We plan to build relationships with universities and grant credit for social work to better recruit volunteers and we will make efforts to ensure the quality of the training by providing the services and information that they need the most to maintain sustainability.
We plan to implement the two first interventions from the beginning till month 18, followed by a peer-matching activity which takes place from month 6 on.
We would like to emphasize the emotional appeal of real experience, using testimony as evidence to arouse public attention and making the content accessible for the general public. In order to strengthen our visibility among Africans, we would engage active participants as “ambassadors” to help us diffuse the message in a peer-to-peer way.
We will try our best to avoid a patronizing and condescending tone and adopt a user-centered approach, for example, being reactive to feedback and suggestions from our audience.
In order to facilitate the dissemination of our contents, we also plan to strengthen our social media presence via different ways:
Share relevant content on African-Chinese communication on major platforms (Wechat, Twitter, Facebook) to reach the potential public;
Reach agreements with partners and request them to repost, so as to leverage the pre-existing subscribers community;
Provide weekly feedback to volunteers community and encourage them to share “good practice” stories on their personal accounts;
Send Newsletter to the mailing list (when our activities developed to a certain scale).
b. Potential funding resources
Our potential funding resources include three actors as follows:
1. Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)
CFLI is a program aiming at supporting small-scale and high-impact projects related to the issues aligned with Global Affairs Canada’s thematic priority areas for engagement in developing countries. Those themes include inclusive governance, for example, diversity, democracy, human rights and the rule of law and so on.
2. The Agence Française de Développement Group Funds
This is a public inclusive development bank that is closely aligned with the UN SDGs, providing support to the projects about this issue in developing countries. The fund also put Africa-related issues as their priorities, which is beneficial to our project.
3. Africa Reimagined
The Africa Reimagined is an organization providing diversified support for African businesses and businessmen to help them better integrate into the Chinese market, and to help those groups tackle potential risks during this process. The mission of this organization shares common points with our project.
 Source: People’s Government of Guangzhou: https://www.yicai.com/news/100582371.html, accessed 01/06/2021.