Community Sponsorship: shared learning for Italy and Canada

Roma (NEV), 26th May 2022 – Italy’s implementation of humanitarian corridors has won international renown and the Mediterranean Hope team’s experience of managing those corridors has earned it a seat in policy discussions on how migration can be better managed in Italy and beyond.

MH is currently part of a European consortium tasked with developing a potential national framework on community sponsorship for Italy.  The “SAFE” project, which aims to share and develop best practice on legal pathways, is being funded by the European Commission’s Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (“AMIF”).

After months of desk research and online exchange, MH staff members Giulia Gori and Fiona Kendall finally travelled with Oxfam Italia colleague Paolo Pezzati to meet with Canadian stakeholders such as GRSI (, Refugee 613 | Refugee 613 and those delivering the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) earlier this month.

“We were able to understand community sponsorship in Canada from a variety of perspectives, including those of sponsors, organisations which support sponsors, referral organisations and government.

Canadian communities have been sponsoring refugees since the late 1970s.  A comprehensive framework has been developed over many years and continues to benefit from significant investment by government and civil society alike.  If we are to establish a community sponsorship model in Italy, we have a rare opportunity to draw on best practice from around the world and tailor it to the Italian context,” said Giulia.

Fiona added, “Ad hoc community sponsorship is already happening in Italy and, as the response by society to the Afghan and Ukrainian crises has demonstrated, there is clear public desire to provide direct support to refugees. We now need to put in place the right building blocks to underpin that goodwill and provide a sustainable structure for sponsorship.

We are therefore looking forward to feeding all we have learned into the recently established working group on community sponsorship involving representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of the Interior, as well as other civil society organizations.”