Especially during the pandemic, social media were and are one of the most important sources of information for new immigrants and refugees in Berlin. In addition to the current Corona measures, this also applies to questions about various legal areas such as social, residence, tenancy and consumer law.
Based on this fundamental insight, “New in Berlin” was the first project in Germany to develop the “digital street work” approach since 2016 – this means that our project team uses professional accounts and reliable information and counselling services to go to the places where new immigrants exchange information and get advice: on social media. We are currently doing this in Arabic, Romanian and English.
Based on our work over the last few years, the “New in Berlin” team was able to provide important support, especially during the pandemic, by translating and communicating current information and providing counselling services for new immigrants via social media.
In addition to counselling work, the current project “Neu in Berlin Live” focuses especially on the production and dissemination of multilingual, digital information media such as infographics, videos, interviews and live question-and-answer sessions to strengthen the connection between Berlin’s diverse counselling services and the digital networks of new immigrants.
All “New in Berlin” projects are working on finding an answer to how a lasting bridge can be built between administrations, counselling organisations, migrant self-organisations and the digital networks of new immigrants in Berlin. In this context, the projects “New in Berlin” (2016-2019) and “New in Berlin Plus” (2020-2021) were able to gain the following insights:
- Multilingual “Digital Streetwork” can make an important contribution to relieving the burden on analogue counselling services in order to cover the growing information needs of new immigrants and reduce risks from incorrect information circulating on social media.
- Digital information offers from public institutions and non-profit counselling providers by new immigrants tend to have a positive effect on orientation and confidence building amongst migrants in these institutions.
- There is a need for a close interconnection between digital and analogue offers in order to refer advice seekers as directly as possible to the information or offices relevant to them.
- Networking between counselling institutions, migrant self-organisations and digital actors is crucial for the success and sustainability of digital street work.