Case Study Report
Development of case study
The interview was conducted in the DAFNI KEK premises in Patras city. In this location the Administration offices and EU meetings venue are located.
The meeting took place initially on August and it was with 2 persons: The general manager and one of the trainers (IT). Secondly we had the opportunity to meet both the Accountant and 1 member of the Board where we presented the results of the initial contact and we asked to add or make comments. Although our intention was to have a focus group session with the 4, this was not that easy to happen, because both of the secondly met, are occupied in other positions and only partly involved in DAFNI KEK duties and tasks. They were informed about the interviews and they agreed with the general approach. The interviewer was Vasiliki Tsekoura.
The general manager was selected as one of the founders of DAFNI KEK (1996) who has experienced all changes and reforms of the institutional law that regulated this type of providers (CVET – Life Long Learning Institutions)
The trainer of ICT is one of the younger staff – permanent / part-time- that represents the lets say basic skills in more regular basis and under different frames of provision (funded, non funded, self funded, etc) The trainer was also selected as the person who voluntarily organises ICT courses for migrants and generally provides IT solutions (i.e EUROPASS, websites, etc) to various migrant organisations in the Patras area on behalf of DAFNI KEK.
For the secondly identified additionally, we have already explained their involvement above. All agreed to cooperate since DAFNI KEK consists also one of the DIVCAP project partners .
Description of the organisation
DAFNI KEK is a non-for profit education and research centre.
Based on the official Statutes articles: ”The initial scope of the institution was the design and provision of continuing Vocational Training and Adult Education courses to a broad range of marginalized groups in the frame of EU funding, State Funding or independently”. The organisation acts both as an independent research centre for innovation in adult education, while also being a certified Life Long Learning Centre, certified by EOPPEP (The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualification and Vocational Guidance), under which certification the organisation has to respect and act under the national legalities for such educational centres.
EOPPEP aims at quality assurance, that has an input in the way DAFNI KEK operates, through:
- inputs: accredited providers implementing VET programs, developed upon accredited standards & specifications, based on accredited occupational profiles, employing accredited adult education trainers, with the aid of accredited support services professionals for social vulnerable groups,
- outputs-learning outcomes: accredited knowledge, skills and competences acquired via nonformal & informal learning pathways and certification of qualifications,
- vocational guidance & counselling services: viable services & tools for supporting citizens of every age, as well as educational information tools according to the latest ICT applications.
Due to recent reforms an major state budget cuts towards courses for disadvantaged groups and adult education in general the organisation has shifted towards an inclusive research centre that offers open access materials for self-education, one on one counselling sessions, diversity communication events where people from different social and cultural groups can get together and exchange ideas, learning processes and future plans.
The organisation thinks that the statement of Paolo Freire that is prominent in the organisation’s website as well as hanging in the walls of their offices really covers the essence around working against social injustice, including injustice towards diverse groups of people from different cultures and countries, and that is: “…there is no transformation without action… Progressive educators need to convince themselves that they are not only teachers–this doesn’t exist–not only teaching specialists. We are political militants because we are teachers…Our job implies that we teach subjects with sobriety and competence, but it also requires our involvement in and dedication to overcoming social injustice.” – (Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach, pg. 42) PAULO FREIRE
DAFNI KEK Structure
- Board: 3 persons · Employees: permanent staff 4
- Contract based : depends on needs > 3-10 persons
- Profile of the contract based persons: Certified Educators in various specifications.
The institution employees 4 people as regular staff and employees trainers depending on the course from a pool of over 50 trainers. In the staff 1 person has migration background and from the pool of trainers at least 1/3 . For the time being people with migrant backgrounds are working in implementation and training.
Institutional in the migrant society
In the early years of the organisation diversity was equivalent to accessibility, so for the system we were fulfilling diversity by having infrastructure that allowed people with special needs to participate in our activities. As far as people of other minorities/ethnicities are concerned, we do projects with and about them and we have a good connection with many of their associations.
DAFNI KEK is working closely with migrants since its beginning in 1996. As it comes migrants and migrant organisations have participated a lot in the construction of the current form of education provision in order to facilitate in an optimal way their learning. Thus the organisation cannot pin point technical or provisional obstacles rather than outreaching in a sufficient way.
DAFNI KEK works with: local community, adult learners, long term unemployed, young unemployed migrants, Roma, unidentified marginalized groups and the broader educational community The organisation is working closely with and is actually situated next to multiple migrant organisations. In order to establish a mutual relation of giving and receiving the organisation provides one on one counselling, advice towards funding calls for the organisations and a plethora of learning materials, along with free training sessions for migrants that want to become adult trainers of counsellors themselves.
The facilities of the organisation make sure to constantly have someone next to the entrance that can facilitate the access to the rest of the building. Multilingual advice are also available. “I would have to add that all different kinds of “diversity” are needed in our institution. Mainly we look for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, meaning people that they are kind of invisible or even 37 unwanted by the “traditional” system, people that their background doesn’t grant them at least some privileges to allow them to live with some quality characteristics.”
Our goal as an institution is to bring people to education in order to add more quality to their lives thus empowering them to be independent and critical towards they things that are happening for them, in their name by others they do not know. But of course that doesn’t mean that we exclude people that might be more privileged but we do require for them to respect everyone and not discriminate against them but rather try to co-exist with each other.
“We try to have our communication pitches in a clear and easily comprehensible language that doesn’t act alienating towards the target groups. Communication channels are: social media, local offices for employment and education, migrant associations, local media.”
Human Resource Management
DAFNI KEK doesn’t have an HR department.
A photo included in a cv would not be expected but even if it was presented it would not alter the case of the applicant. As mentioned there is no HR department. Intercultural competence, though, is the foremost compulsory skill for a job applicant as it is needed in every stage of the processes of the organisation. A discussion guide so that the job interviews are as consistent as possible is not provided in particularly. The organisation acts as mono-departmental, and as I goes acts inclusively in each stage. Multilingualism is awarded – At least 2 languages are expected. More languages definitely are assets in an application. DAFNI KEK has a great amount of experience in working with both national projects and European programmes on social inclusion and diversity. As it goes from its initial stage as adult education provider and training centre by conducting multiple courses for migrants (Greek as a second language), long term unemployed, women (social initiative and cooperative entrepreneurship), people with hearing and visual disabilities (art lessons) diversity management has always been a case for investigation.
In the latest years of the organisations activities research has taken up a great amount of action space, with a loyal constant being the mentalities around Outreach-Empowerment-Diversity (OED) as it can be perfectly summarised by the European Partnership of the OED (www.oed-network.eu) and ImplOED (implementing OED) Project.
DAFNI KEK doesn’t have a specifies set of guidelines tackling equality, mainly due to its small size, per se but every employee has been closely interviewed by the assembly of the rest of the employees in order to make sure that he or she is in hand with the horizontal, directly democratic and socially inclusive way of working in the organisation. This means that a new employee would have to answer in a discursive way multiple learning challenges that would highlight any problematic thinking towards equal treatment.
In terms of employment, if we have an open position, we care about the skills of the person so we would definitely choose someone that fulfilled the criteria regardless of where they come from. Of course in case of people with disabilities things would be a bit more difficult because they require further investments to be made in terms of infrastructure and salaries in order to be able to work in the office which we might not be able to afford at all times, so in this case maybe it would be more difficult for us to employ them.
Due to the small size of the organisation and the open way of interaction and working, inequal behaviour would be imminently evident to the rest of the working group, but even if that was not the case any employee that would come up with such a behaviour could make a case in the weekly assembly without fear of judgement.
“From my point of view I can confirm the willingness to be diverse and that we do try to respect diversity as much as we can something that is also evident from the fact that many of our old trainees 38 come from the Roma and migrant communities communicating with us and having a feeling that they can address us for an issue they might face and help them if we can or even just pass by and say hi. So in that aspect we are considered as approachable at least. Roma community members have limited written skills. The ones have already completed primary education and they were in the front line. Unexpectable but even with a lot of spelling mistakes the older ones could express either in Greek r English ( due to their trade activities) basic words !When it comes to practice, and if I understand your question well you mean if we would employ someone that would be in some aspect different than us (ethnically, socially, economically, educationally, in terms of social gender, physical and mental abilities, or any other way I cannot think of right now) I am covered pretty much from what c said. We would never not choose a person that comes from a different ethnically, socially, economically or based on gender just because of their identity. So even if we do not employ someone right now that has such characteristics it is just because of the current circumstances, it is not on purpose. I will also agree that people we would not be able to sustain employing a person with some kind of severe disability because they would require some “investments” from our part that unfortunately we are not able to make right now or in the near future which is important to mention here – I think – because in this case it is a systematic issue that we cannot surpass only with individual willingness as in the case of cultural diversity. So for now, we are open to people regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like and/or identify as. We also really hope in the future to be able to provide a paid position in our organisation to a person with the above characteristics because we really believe that is would be beneficial in many different ways to redistribute visibility and employment opportunities to all different members of the society.”
If presented with the case of course cultural celebration days are taking under account. The canteen and meal provision concerns the different dietary preferences of each of the learners and working staff and as for the prayer room, even though there is not one specifically for this use, people are welcome to use for prayer any place that is free.
In the case that an applicant doesn’t possess official certification of skills they are welcome to use the multiple self-assessment tools that we provide as an institution and can follow a session with one of our counsellors in order to construct an indicative cv.
The organisation believes in delegation and cooperative leadership. Meaning that there is not one leader for everything, but only tasks upon which someone’s expertise can actually make them lead an operation. In this way the management of the organisation is already inclusive.
We cooperate with the Albanian, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Latin American migrant associations while there is also an Afghani organisation with which we haven’t had some relations with yet.
The organisation doesn’t have constant recruitment campaigns but when there is an opportunity for employing an additional staff member migrant organisations are the first channels we are communicating with.
We perceive cooperation as the main force towards change and inclusion. We view the fact that our city has a lot of smaller initiatives than larger corporate ones as a strength for coexistence rather than assimilation of cultural and social differences. As it goes we view that cooperation is the main road towards successful openness in institutions and society. We mainly try to establish good relations with the migrant associations of our area or from other cities that act as a trusted medium for individuals to come. Our area has been historically impacted by migrations, both of locals and strangers. There are many people and associations that deal with migration. We mainly work with the Albanian migrants’ a many people and associations that deal with migration. We mainly work with the Albanian 39 migrants’ association “Emigranti”, “Union Latina” the association of Latin American migrant, some other associations (less organised) from people from the Balkans, small-scale merchant’s associations from the Middle East and South Asia (migrants that came here and they made small shops for their communities – not large scale merchants) and we also trying to get in contact with non-formal associations of African migrants/refugees. We have a good cooperation with our municipality’s office for migration and integration issues. Finally, there are organisations that accommodate migrants and refugees and they address us when they want to provide courses to their guest.
The educational staff has equal representation of the two main genders. Migrants are welcome to be part of the educational staff, although due to legal limitation only certified educators can be employed by our institution through state funds and this can act as a barrier a few migrants have gone through the official certification for adult educators. Educators with sexuality orientation in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum are welcome and empowered to take part in our processes without same or need of hiding. Finally educators from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are usually preferred.
DAFNI KEK aims for as mixed learning environments as possible as they believe that separating learning groups by the element of diversity that excluded them you enhance the feeling of exclusion. In this case in the courses where it is possible people from different social and cultural background, age and gender come together. In the instance that learners object to a mixed class there are different policies depending on each instance.
The courses of the organisation more or less always have migrants participating. The actual field of the course is what alternates the percentage, but most commonly migrants are more than half of the class.
DAFNI KEK tries to provide migrant learners with a learning environment that can “talk to them” and that makes it feel their own. Other than that there is no particular support instead of the case that if needed interpreters can come and act as facilitators. Courses are mainly offered in Greek and English. When working with people with hearing disabilities Greek sign language is also available. Learning difficulties are supported by the organisation by providing specialized training to the educators and also by providing personalized counselling to learners. DAFNI KEK structures the courses in a way that facilitates communication between the individuals and also social groups that in society tend to have the least interactions. In order for this to be smoothly integrated into the learning material the class works with simulations, role playing and storytelling in and outside the classroom. Main challenges to confront in the learning process is the understanding the struggles of migration, alienation from loved ones and the sentiment of missing once home can be crucial challenges that a trainer has to overcome in order to understand the way a learner may oppose to learning and how this experience can be translated into a powerful tool.
“Hands-on experience is for us the most important thing and constant communication between the employees that allows for them to share their thoughts, opinions and feedback. All departments are equally important for the work of our organisation so although the teachers might be closer to the trainees for more time, it is also the work of the administrative staff to create a good environment for communication with the people. For that reason everyone is included in the process, we always have opportunities for educate all of us in the issue of integration and it is everyone’s responsibility to be constantly self-educated on such issues (it is part of our organisation’s values).”
Personal Impressions of interviewed people
|Positive aspects for our organisation and the society in general
Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy
Because like it or not, we leave in societies that had been functioning and still function (either consciously or subconsciously) in terms of “norms” which affects many different aspects of life. Having that in mind, we believe that “diversity management” can act as a way for common understanding in the workplace and eventually the society thus allowing people to communicate on more equal terms. We do not wish to use it as a way to remind people that some might diverge from the “norms” but rather that “norms” diverge from people.
- In some cases, only the fact that you include them in your activities is enough for some to respond and participate
- For those that are more reluctant due to professional issues, we try to provide incentives like professional guidance and counselling (including assisting them with their CVs)
- Some people come to us through other organisations that want to offer our services to their members, so we try to establish good communication with migrant associations in our area and in other cities
- If our reserves allow it, we also try to assist their transportation to our place so that way they are not limited by their ability to afford transportation or not.
What should be changed?
Most issues have to do with social pathogenies (I do not know if I am saying it correctly) mainly racism, discrimination, social exclusion, prejudices and suspicion which affect the ability to easily/directly/effectively reach people that have been systematically excluded. Of course such issues are not linear, so the attempts you make might be even be successful much quicker than you thought mainly because at least there is more visibility nowadays. Of course one very important issue is that people that face such realities need to be aware of what they will be gaining something by participating, let that be a trusted social circle of people, a safe learning environment, tangible opportunities to get a job or just a way to effectively take their minds away from their everyday struggles and feel comfortable for a while.“
“In this time period, we are just very full of work and we have to confront some economic issues, so for that reason we do not engage on a regular basis as we used to with courses, so this is what we are really looking forward to achieving in the coming years, overcoming our economic issues and give more time and energy in bringing more people inside.”
What should not be changed?
Our willingness to change where is needed (in terms of diversity)
The language regarding diversity within the organisation
Both of the DAFNI KEK staff presented their opinion in a self-confidence way which reflected their deeper commitment to what they express and their inner understanding of diversity as value.
Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation
There is a rational and realistic presentation of the relevant issues – both the positive and non that positive aspects. It is obvious that the context of reference is the same time mono linguistic / mono cultural bit multicultural in its historical process as society due to economic / industrial circumstances and geographical position of the city.
The understanding of diversity as a necessity is important and the fact of the limited sometimes services are due to financial and time deficits – a small organisation.
Illustrations and abstract designs are mostly used in order to avoid profiling the courses. In the case though that something like that is needed we constantly make sure to include multiple races, cultures, genders and ages. The DAFNI KEK applies cooperative and inclusive approach in its strategy. There is a strong willingness and attitude towards diversity – which is reflected in all members and staff where family links are also correlated.
Arrangements and power relations
There was no indication of power connotations. Each one has the power of expertise on the field of his/her reference. The younger was more idealist as the older ( manager) was more sceptical and realistic.
Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation
Due to be a family organisation, the persons are committed to support and advance the presence of the organisation in order to lead the change in the field of diversity and inclusion in modern times. For this reason emphasis is given to digitalisation, foreign languages and diversity on lifestyles.
Possible benefits for the learners
Learners are active participants and in a way influence the strategies and plans of the organisation – they are the same time influencers and ‘consumers’ of the services – this means that diversity is perceived as driver of the next plans.
What could be from their point of view “setting the stage” for change? Openness, dialogue with the diverse otherness , outreach.
What’s in it for the learners? An open, reflective and welcoming learning environment with respect
Stage of the organisation
|7. intercultural organisation|
|6. intercultural diversity management|
|5. cross-cultural HRM policy|
|4. inflow of migrant workers|
|3. intercultural service management|
|2. service to migrants|
|1. monocultural organization|
Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them
- My organisation has migrants among its clients.
- In my organization an intercultural training has been done aimed at improving sales to migrants.
- My organisation has a policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants.
- My organisation employs (a) migrant worker(s).
- My organisation has a policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers.
- In my organisation there has been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership.
- My organisation has an intercultural personnel policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of diversity policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel.
DAFNI KEK is an organisation with main vision the Inclusion of the less advantaged with no barriers In this frame, the persons involved are in constant reflection on their practices and they are very careful to offer their services to as many as possible according to their needs. This capacity presupposes awareness of the diverse needs, constant training and relationship building with representatives as learners/clients.
DAFNI KEK is a small family based and horizontal organised organisation without structured HRM but where diversity is in the mindset of the workers, for one part based on its network with several migrant organisations and for the other part based on working in projects about diversity and interculturalisation.
Change and consequences
What is change here actually?
DAFNI KEK is moving forward with a very well perceived system of values in favour of diversity and inclusion. What is missing is the further communication of this capacity and the self confidence to make it explicit – in that way DAFNI KEK and its members could produce significant impact to their environment in terms of inclusive diversity.
What does it mean for the education process?
Taking into account the financial constraints, we are in line with modern, more flexible modes of training courses to be delivered. Open Learning and Massive Courses are in priority and in progress of further development.
What does it mean for the management?
As a (private) organisation you should be accessible and open for changes. This presupposes an openminded Management staff and initiatives that making this strategy clear, outdoors.
What does it mean for the staff?
Constant learning and critical observation. People can easily express what they need in less formal settings -i.e you can learn from them and about them in a SM or during transportation. This is a life wide learning capacity , which is important for the staff to be able to communicate it.
What does it mean for the learners?
Cooperation and empathy to the organisations which seek their position in a fluid word. Once the learners feel acceptable and respectful, they multiply this effect to their motivation for learning and active participation in all stages.
What does it means for the organisation?
Close to the society , with the society as a whole . Sustainability. Diversity stimulates progress and produces new services.
Recommendations which need implementation to reach the next stage of diversity policy are:
- Action Plan with steps and timeline where services to be promoted to a multicultural audience and attract their interest.
- Involving new persons with migrant background in a task oriented contract with the organisation.
What is the right approach for this way of changing?
Based on the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak8, which demonstrates colour thinking as an
accessible expression of different change management traditions, we advise in this case the following
“greenprint” approach for change. This brings people together in learning situations, in a learning
process, to solutions that people find together. a more rational and planned approach.
Learning organisation, flexible in its approach and providing guidance and support to everyone
DAFNI KEK is open to change and integrates the new knowledge. Due to its independence is flexible
to incorporates policies in favour of interculturality and diversity. An external critical friend could
always be welcoming to support.
Commitment with Management and Staff
The commitment for change is continue learning. The manager and the rest of the administrative staff are the same time founders and owners of this private organisation which has to remain sustainable. Sustainability is not possible without continuous reflection and critical adaptation. The owners are ready to make any changes by using the necessary available resources as possible.