09 Jun SSD Progress in Italy
Following a series of successful kick-off events in early March 2021, 26 migrants, 11 service providers and 10 subject matter experts have been piloting the IMMERSE platform as part of the Sustained Service Delivery (SSD) phase of the MIICT project. The piloting, like the Italian platform itself, targeted former unaccompanied foreign minors and service providers from both the public sector and the NGOs, focussing on accommodation matching for the young users. In a bid to engage participants in person asmuch as possible in spite of Covid-19 restrictions, events for migrant users were held in small groups across the Emilia-Romagna region, while those for service providers and experts were held online.
After a short period of autonomous platform testing, the participants were called together in an iterative feedback process, through small focus group discussions (held at week 3 of the SSD), an online questionnaire (week 7), and one-on-one interviews with selected participants (week 11). The outcomes of the activities were constructive and confronted aspects of the visual platform design, its functions and content, and the expectations of platform users. Reported impressions of IMMERSE were positive across the participant groups, most notably in relation to its usability and intuitive design and in reference to the Italian platform’s specific target migrant user, former unaccompanied foreign minors in the neo-adult phase. The particular potential of the platform in helping this category of migrants had emerged during the co-design and co-creation phases of the MIICT project, steering its design from a technical and a content perspective to meet the needs of this group.
The feedback gained through these activities was circulated among the MIICT partners before a week-long technical break in mid-May 2021, during which additional alterations based on user feedback were made to the IMMERSE platform. As the Italian pilot proceeds into the second half of the Sustained Service Delivery phase, and as the gradual relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions allows available accommodation for young former unaccompanied minors to reach its pre-pandemic levels, Agenfor, who is leading the Italian activities, hopes to welcome participants to in-person events and see further growth in activity on the platform.