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Sicilia Integra - Socio-Economic Integration of Migrants and Unemployed Youth through Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Community Design
Description/achievement of initiative

Sicilia Integra aims to support the socio-economic integration of migrants through agro-ecology capacity-building activities while increasing the production and commercialisation of Sicilian organic products in European markets. This will be achieved by developing educational tools and creating pathways of learning incorporating the 3 dimensions of sustainability– environment, society and economy- with specialisation in organic agriculture techniques and sustainable community design. Furthermore the project will foster the professionalisation of migrants and unemployed youth, create new jobs opportunities in regenerative agriculture, while contributing to the development of a local green economy and Sicily’s economic renewal.

Implementation methodologies

A potential solution to the current migration crises can be found in the ecovillages, permaculture and transition communities’ social movements. In many places these community-led strategies have shown how rural villages and urban communities can re-establish sustainable livelihoods combining local traditional knowledge with appropriate technologies. The project will be utilising methodological approaches based on existing and further expansion of current approaches, theories and methods developed by a network of best practices within fairtrade, sustainability education, ecovillages and agro-ecology movements. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approaches will support migrants and unemployed youth to reflect and act on viable alternatives towards food security while promoting good food and healthy diets; strengthening local economies; and sustaining small enterprises and the viability of small farms. It is expected that the combined tools of an interactive curriculum and a series of pilot activities will support a pathway for migrants and unemployed youth to develop new skills, improve their social status, create sustainable communities and enter the organic agriculture regional and European job market.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

The capacity building activities will address the 4 dimensions of sustainability and its interlinkages i) SOCIETY: enhancing solidarity between migrants and unemployed youth, encouraging collaborative decision-making, designing inclusive local governance systems, acquiring tools for conflict facilitationii) ECONOMY: enhancing ethical, fair and transparent business relations, increasing autonomy from the agro-industrial system, promoting viable livelihoods and socio entrepreneurship, bridging the gap between producers and consumersiii) ENVIRONMENT: understanding the impact and developing resilience to climate change in food, land, biodiversity and water systems, comparing and contrasting renewable energy systemsiv) CULTURE: preserving and supporting local traditions, bringing culture back to agri-culture, appreciation of the diversity of cultural influences on food patterns.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

Gaia Education and the University of Catania are building an inclusive and transparent system of governance and long-term relationships among the different stakeholders involved. In this context Sicilia Integra is governed by a Steering Group holding the vision of the project with representatives of the 5 main clusters of stakeholders: Educational Institutions, Migrants Welcome Centers, Farmers, Third Sector Associations and European Buyers. The Steering Group is supported by an operational technical team constituted by a project manager and other experts involved in the project.


Gaia Education, University of Catania (Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Di3A)
Progress reports
Goal 2
Goal 4
Goal 8
Goal 12
Goal 15
Goal 16
Goal 17
Steering Group is set up holding the vision of the project with representatives of the 5 main institutions/associations is to be established. The Steering Group will be supported by an operational technical team constituted by a project manager and other experts involved in the project
Development of the curriculum Migrant Design Education in cooperation with stakeholders
Conducting capacity building activities to 100 migrants and unemployed youth over 18 months
Supporting socio-economic integration of migrants and unemployed youth in organic farms
Financing (in USD)
55,000 USD
In-kind contribution
Gaia Education and University of Catania have deployed 2 staff members to support the initial year of the project
Staff / Technical expertise
Sicilia Integra has mobilised expertise of a large network of Third Sector organisation and Farmers Cooperatives
Other, please specify
The project has mobilised an initial grant of (USD) 55,000 and has applied to Erasmus+ funding

Basic information
Time-frame: 01/2016 - 01/2019
Gaia Education, University of Catania (Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Di3A)
Contact information
May East, Chief Executive, may.east@gaiaeducation.org
United Nations