Inspiring Approaches

BarcelonaThe Nausica programme – a holistic approach to community reception and social inclusion

What is inspiring?

The municipal reception and social inclusion programme Nausica started in April 2016. It aims to bolster the services of SAIER and offers protection and assistance to asylum seekers who are already in Barcelona and are receiving little or no help from the limited state system of reception and integration. Its integrated approach sees participants as whole persons with interrelated needs, allowing the municipal organisations and NGOs involved in the programme to coordinate their efforts.

How does it operate?

Nausica offers temporary accommodation services and specialised intervention for people or families who have requested international protection and are still in a situation of vulnerability and social exclusion. The programme includes integrated help with temporary housing, legal aid, job and language training. Nausica is, therefore, both a community reception project as well as a social rights programme. The programme’s focus on social autonomy indicates an important shift away from a purely economic conception of autonomy, towards an appreciation of the importance of participation in group and community activities, friendship networks and the ability to independently access city resources (health care, libraries, community centres, etc.).

What is the outcome?

Two independent evaluations in 2017 and 2019 showed that even though the number of people helped by the programme was relatively low, those people managed to increase their social and economic independence as well as their Spanish language skills. The 2018 OECD report even recommends the programme as a model for other cities. Valencia, Zaragoza, Sabadell, Sant Boi de Llobregat and El Prat de Llobregat are already offering similar programmes.

Who initiated the project? How?

As has been the case in other areas of municipal politics in Barcelona, Nausica was developed with the participation of a number of NGOs, citizen groups and municipal bodies. Even though, at least theoretically, refugees and those seeking international protection with no resources of their own can access the national programme, many are excluded for different reasons. This may be because they have been returned to Spain through the exercise of the Dublin Regulation, because they belong to a certain social group, or their state of health or sexual orientation makes it inadvisable for them to stay in shared accommodation. Nausica is, therefore, a parallel reception and inclusion programme that aims to cushion the shortcomings of state-driven reception (“acogida”) and social autonomy (“autonomía social”) programmes.

What is new in 2023?

The results of the programme from an evaluation in 2020 are remarkable. Of the participants who reached the two-year time limit for participation or chose to end their participation early, 73 percent had found a place to live, 52 percent were employed or self-employed and 63 percent were able to demonstrate written Spanish language skills.

All inspiring approaches