IncluCities Training Academy in Mechelen

 Inspirational day 

 20221215 MECHELEN VVSG BUDDY 3420221215 MECHELEN VVSG BUDDY 46mechelen academyMechelen 1

The last in the series of IncluCities Training Academies was the Inspirational Day in Mechelen, organised by the VVSG in collaboration with the City of Mechelen.

Participants got inspired by Flemish and European experts about buddy collaborations and mentoring between municipalities. They learned how to set up a buddy collaboration in a small city and how to set up an inter-municipal collaboration. Inspiration day was all about exchanging experiences about buddy matching and learning about online tools for buddying. The city of Mechelen presented their One-Stop shop, the welcome application of the city of Mechelen. The highlight was the presentation of other results of the IncluCities project, including the replication of the Buddy project in a completely different local context, in the mentee city Capaci in Sicily. 

This inspiration day was an initiative of the VVSG, the city of Mechelen, Beyond the Horizon and HIVA-KULEUVEN and is part of the IncluCities (  and Orient 8 (, that joined forces for this special occasion.

The IncluCities Twitter thread



15 december in Lamot Mechelen


9h30-9h35: WELCOMING SPEECH by Gabriella de Francesco, alderwoman City of Mechelen 

9h35-9h50: INTRODUCTION by   

  • Mr. George Ioakimidis, Mayor of Nikaia-Rentis (Greece) (focus on Orient 8) 
  • Ms. Fiorenza Giambona, Councillor city council of Capaci (Italy) (focus on IncluCities)  

9h50-10h30: SETTING THE SCENE by providing a framework for mentoring  

  • Social mentoring for migrant newcomers: context and lessons from the Orient8 project  
    Keynote by Peter De Cuyper (KU Leuven)  

  • City-to-city mentoring: A methodological guide 
    Keynote by Ceri Hutton (Migration Work CIC) 

10h30 – 11h: NARRATIVE PART on the IncluCities & ORIENT8 experiences 
Format: Sofa talk with the moderator (moderation by Ceri Hutton, Migration Work) 
Participants: Corinne Huybers (Mechelen), Carla Rey (AICCRE), Samet Coban (Beyond the Horizon)  
Language: ENGLISH 

11h-11u30: COFFEEBREAK  

11h30-12h30: Selection of different WORKSHOPS -Round 1.  

  1. City-to-city mentoring: a topic in the ‘Flemish Action Plan Living Together/Plan Samenleven  
    By MigrationWork, VVSG and the city of Mechelen 
    With a contribution of Bart Vandenbussche (ABB, Flemish Government) (ENG/NL) 

  2. How to use digital tools in welcoming newcomers?
    by Sara Lanoye (city of Mechelen), Sofie Iserbyt (AgII) and Maria Lee (Beyond the Horizon) (ENG/NL)  
  3. Buddying in small municipalities and inter-municipal collaborations: reflexions, challenges and recommendations  
    Experiences from Bocholt (Hilde Braeken), Capaci (Fiorenza Giambona) and de Noordwelzijnsregio (Goele Kerkhof (NL/Eng) 
  4. How to measure the impact of buddy programs?
    ByPeter De Cuyper and Jan Van Ongevalle (HIVA, KU Leuven) (NL/ENG) 

13h50-14h50: Selection of different WORKSHOPS-Round 2 

15h05-15h35: EXPERT REFLECTIONS – advice for the future  
Format: Sofa talk with the moderator (moderation by Maria Grazia Montella, CEMR) ENG/NL 

15h35-15h50: CLOSING REMARKS

15h50: Artistic closure, slam poet Lisette Ma Neza

16h10-17h: RECEPTION  

 Photos @Gil Plaquet