OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

JUMPING BORDERS TO BUILD BRIDGES

An initiative oriented to empower refugees during their journeys while developing multicultural business teams in the host communities.

Photo of Bruno Alvarez
18 69

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

This initiative targets people on-the-move (PoM) across the Balkans and host communities in Spain, accordingly to the problems we have identified during our community research : a) On the field: refugees do not want to stay in official camps, they want to move forward. However, the path is unsafe and the support they receive is scarce and not based on their real needs. People on the move aim to cover their basic needs but also to feel respected as human beings, including psychological support, dignified healthcare and justice when they become victims of violent push-backs. In this regard, No Name Kitchen has piloted the following ideas on the field: 1. Aid Hotline: volunteers on the field make daily distributions of food and non-food items upon requests made by refugees on our Messenger. 2. Healthcare connections: as most of refugees are rejected in public hospitals and they don't have resources to afford private services, No Name Kitchen connects individuals in-need with individual supporters that from abroad or from the local community, aim to cover their medical expenses building a mutual trust relationship. 3. Border Violence Monitoring: hundreds of refugees are daily victims of illegal push-backs from one country to another. Many of those actions include violence. No Name Kitchen volunteers record each story to provide psychological support while advocating for a change in policy making. As founders of the BVM network, our reports are main source of information for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The pilot stage has reached great achievements (see attachment "impact Jan-June 2019") and the idea now is to scale-up the initiative and to reach much more users. b) On arrival: refugees face difficulties to find a job. Local communities are afraid of newcomers. Our idea is to run a food truck, as pilot to generate employment for refugees and locals, while developing awareness-raising activities to show a good practice of social cohesion.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The initiative links both sides of the bridge. On the field, two Balkans' spots where the aid-hotline has been already piloted: 1. Velika Kladusa (Bosnia-Herzegovina): 25.000 locals and 900 PoM in-need. Main gate for border-crossing to Croatia. 2. Sid (Serbia): 14.000 locals and 500 PoM in-need. Main gate for border-crossing to Hungary. And one host community: 3. Bilbao (Spain), as headquarter for team's training and to set up the food truck, despite the business has an international scope.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Our community research shows how host communities perceive immigration as a socioeconomic problem. Because of that, the idea builds two bridges: 1. Linking local volunteers on the field with refugees on the move, to provide mutual support during their journeys. 2. Neighbors and asylum seekers creating a joint team to run a food truck business in the host community. Both connections are oriented to erode negative stereotypes, showing the potential of refugees as end-users and service providers.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

We don’t perceive migrants as victims but human beings subjects of rights, and supporting their right to seek for a better future entails to help them in doing so. For that, we listen carefully to understand their needs: one is freedom, so we support their journeys instead of retaining them. Two is empowerment with dignity, so we don't distribute standardized precooked food packs but raw food, pots and means to cook in their squats. Other is justice, especially when they are beaten by officials during their border-crossing attempts. No Name Kitchen co-founded the Border Violence Monitoring Network in 2018 to report those illegalities and to advocate for a change. For most of the refugees, counting on this psychological and legal support is more valuable than any meal. No Name Kitchen is formed by PoM and aid volunteers aiming to develop a sustainable example of integration, and this idea will allow to scale-up the field activities while piloting a business full of hope and dignity.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

This idea aims to create actionable impacts in 3 levels: 1. PoM: the aid-hotline is oriented to provide the refugees with means for self-protection in terms of food (resources to cook) and shelter (clothes, sleeping bags, hygiene, backpacks...). This assistance makes a difference since they get ready to continue their journey in safer conditions. Also, providing healthcare and reporting their cases of border violence, conveys trust raising their self-steem. 2. Food truck team: the training stage will develop skills and capacities for the team, empowering them to run a solid business. Therefore, creating employment is a main actionable impact as income generator. 3. Host community: the idea of forming mixed multicultural teams seeks to develop a good practice of social cohesion, to raise awareness on the community about the potential positive impact of combining forces between locals and newcomers, to switch stereotyped narratives into fruitful collaborations beyond the food truck.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

For the Aid-Hotline: our inspiration was the feedback from refugees who had experienced the traditional up-bottom approach of UN agencies in detention centres and official camps. PoM express permanently how their freedom of movements, their dignity and their sense of joy are damaged because of a system designed to control and to treat refugees as numbers to feed until getting rid of them. Refugees don't ask to be feed, but to feel alive and active, for example cooking for the others. For the food truck: it has been a long time since we are looking for a sustainable business model able to provide root solutions for social cohesion in host communities. When we participated in the, we got impressed by the potential of food trucks and we decided to research deeper. Life is a journey, migrations are a journey and this idea could not be otherwise than a mobile concept, where hosts and refugees can show the initiative and raise awareness in spots of different communities across Europe.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

The idea links two different contexts: Norther Balkans (on route) and Basque Country (arival). Velika Kladusa (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Sid (Serbia) are launching pads for border-crossing to EU, and in this regard, the large presence of PoM has impacted deeply on the social fabric of a Balkan population still traumatized by the 90's war. They were refugees 25 years ago and that's why many individuals are actively supporting refugees. However, they both are low-middle income countries and a vast part of the society, including authorities, army and police, are reluctant to welcome refugees, especially out of camps. In Spain, Bilbao is a main destination for asylum seekers. Up to 1.600 people asked for asylum last year (source: CEAR), and this fact feeds the locals' fear on how migrants will affect their well-being. The Basque society is composed by many traditional families, but also by youth activists, which offers a great atmosphere for a mind-opening process as our idea proposes.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

No Name Kitchen's approach is always to develop networks. When the team arrive to one spot, firstly we survey for partners and local services availability. We did it in the Balkans, and now we propose to scale-up the project once we have developed a solid know-how and multiple connections with PoM (most of refugees already know us before reaching the borders), and with services' providers as health specialists, other NGOs, supermarkets, etc. Other assets are our warehouses, our experience in administrative and logistic procedures and the presence of local volunteers 24/7 on the field. In Bilbao, No Name Kitchen counts already with volunteers -locals and refugees- doing community research. Moreover, the pro-refugees collectives' network Ongi Etorri has expressed their will to provide support for the team's training and to set up the food truck. In addition, Spain has a large tradition of fairs, culture festivals and events that would ease the piloting stage of the business.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

1. Refugees: they are the main stakeholders. They share their experience, their stories and their wisdom about resilience and hope. 2. Local and international volunteers: either in Balkans and Spain, they join the network and support the activities in daily basis. 3. Public institutions: NNK association is registered in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Spain, where our presence is known and accepted by the local authorities. 4. NGOs: our referral system is designed to help refugees in getting the best support from each actor working in the region. Therefore we cooperate with SOS, MSF, DRC, Collective Aid and IOM. 5. Media: as founders of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, we collaborate with media agencies such as AreYouSyrious, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, El Pais, BBC or The Guardian, bringing visibility to the situation and the PoM's testimonies. 6. Academic: we will expand to have an awareness program of conferences and activities in schools and universities.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Majority Adoption: We have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base (i.e. 50% to 83% of the target population or 50,000 to 1,000,000 users).

Group or Organization Name

NO NAME KITCHEN

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

January 2017. More than 1.000 human beings survive a particularly cold winter in the Barracks, an abandoned train station of Belgrade. The borders between Serbia and EU countries have been closed, the formal camps are full and people are stranded outside. A group of independent volunteers finds out this situation and decides to move there. In just a few hours they raise 2.000 euros to buy a couple of burners and start cooking alongside refugees. No Media was there to inform about the situation. No agency was there to provide minimum protection services. In that moment, in that way, No Name Kitchen was born. Since then we didn't stop distributing thousands of hot meals, clothes and hygiene kits, providing medical services and reporting the borders' violence in Serbia, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we are determined to keep our philosophy: everybody has the right to seek for a better future, everybody deserves equal treatment, and no injustice should be ever hidden.

Website URL:

www.nonamekitchen.org/en/

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

Spain

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Gijon (Asturias)

In preparation for expert feedback: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in these categories? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea. (600 characters)

The project aims to run a small business -food truck-, to generate incomes while raising awareness by organizing activities around the truck. Both customers (demand) and refugees (supply) expressed their desire. However, during our community research we faced some doubts: Q1 Is there an option to include seed capital in the budget for running costs as ingredients and supplies? Q2 Is it better to start with only one truck or to create a network (kind of franchise) to have bigger impact since the beginning? Q3 Is there any expert in mechanical architecture to join our team? It would be great!

Did you use the resources offered during the Improve Phase (mentorship, expert feedback, community research)? (2000 characters)

The improving phase has been a great exercise of team working for us. Since the first proposal we have developed many new concepts thanks to the support of the platform and the usage of the toolkit. Our mentor is Iraqi and has been a refugee on-the-move himself, so has a huge capacity to understand the needs of our end-users. He crossed the Balkans and reached Bilbao where is living now. Sounds like destiny, yes, especially since we had the chance to meet personally and work shoulder to shoulder for two weeks. His technical advice helped us to refine the proposal, synthesizing it better. We were probably including too much activities in one single idea, without focusing on the bridges' building concept. Thus, he emphasized the need to highlight our added values: firstly, as founders of the Border Violence Monitoring Network regarding our capacity to connect the PoM's stories on the field with media agencies all across Europe (eg. we published in The Guardian and we were interviewed by BBC, RAI and other TV channels). We are incredibly thankful to him, who has demonstrated a great will to support the idea since the beginning, and logically now he is becoming a new volunteer of No Name Kitchen. From the expert, however, we submitted the three questions on the virtual deck but we did not receive any feedback until now. Luckily we were in contact with Ms. Ashley, who helped us with some guidelines prior to complete our contribution. In addition, the toolkit has been very useful for us. We followed the community design research, mapping stakeholders, conducting interviews to end-users -both PoM in the Balkans and potential customers in Spain- and moreover we developed a user experience map which result was amazing, helping us to brainstorm what would be the best way to connect our work on the refugees' route with the need to provide assistance on arrival. Here attached is a interview to one end-user, the persona worksheet and the user experience map.

In what ways would potential BridgeBuilder funds allow you to pursue your idea that other funding opportunities have not? (1000 characters)

No Name Kitchen can not prevent refugees from crossing through the borders, but we can help them to maintain hope and dignity standing on both sides of the tunnel. In this regard, the aid hotline is a very impactful tool to reach refugees while they move, providing food, hygiene, healthcare and shelter. However it is requires a lot of resources. By mid 2019, our expenses total more than 6,000 euros per month. However, our fixed monthly income is of 2,300 euros. The rest is a miracle: a flea market in Hamburg, an individual donor who has seen us in the news, or a local business providing free food are examples of common funding sources for our activities. In spite of the valuable mutual support, this mechanism does not allow us to invest in R&D. Our idea of linking support on the route to support on arrival is unique and powerful, but it requires a grant maker who believe on the need to pilot new ideas for achieving successful innovations, and Bridge Builder is the perfect challenge.

What aspects or proportion of the overall idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (1000 characters)

No Name Kitchen never stops looking for new supporters. We receive donations in-kind from all over the world and have also the financial support of one sponsor to cover the warehouses on the field. Thus, adding some individual donations in-cash we could keep our current activities next year within a limited scope of action. However, our needs' assessment team have identified several gaps in 3border-crossing spots: Subotica (Serbia), Bihac and Tuzla (Bosnia-Herzegovina) where we would like to replicate our aid-hotline system. Scaling it up would request an available budget of 25.000 USD for each site (total: 75.000 USD per year). Even thought, the food truck would be the primary focus of BridgeBuilder funds. Based on a initial research, prototype and pilot would require approximately 85.000 USD, including the vehicle purchase, the costs of adapting it for the activity, also the team's training, legal registration fees, licences, and a 5.000 USD seed capital to start the business.

What are the key steps or activities for your idea for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (1000 characters)

The Gantt chart is the tool we use to define the activities' timing, helping us to anticipate needs and to avoid overlapping as our resources are quite limited and some team members will participate in different stages of the project.

What will community-level impact look like over the timeframe of your idea? How will you determine whether or not you have achieved that impact? And what outstanding questions do you still have? (1000 characters)

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (1000 characters)

Lastly, how did you apply new learnings to your idea? (1000 characters)

Our idea has evolved since the first stage, refining not only the activities but also the way of presenting it, thanks to the toolkit's resources. Our mentor shared his experience as refugee -he jumped the borders and now tries to build bridges on arrival- and familiar with IDEO. Thanks to it we decided to make it visual following the design-kit tips. It helped us to highlight the value of the aid-hotline to link both scopes of action: field and arrival. Also, when sharing the idea with stakeholders -PoM, NGOs and volunteers- they suggested to underline our role in the Border Violence Monitoring Network as main aid actors alongsside the borders. We understood that this PoM challenge is not oriented to fund good ideas already in place but to boost the ideas to the next stage the innovation development chain. In this regard, our design proposes to scale-up the hotline that we've already piloted, and to pilot a new idea, prototyping a food truck to launch a new model of social cohesion.
View more

Attachments (5)

newsletter NNK summer19.pdf

Newsletter of No Name Kitchen covering the period June, July and August 2019.

impact january june 19.jpg

These figures show up the impact of No Name Kitchen activities on the field during the first six months of 2019. Now, the initiative "Jumping borders to build bridges" aims to scale-up the work by enlarging the network of aid volunteers to provide support to refugees in different spots across the Balkans Routes.

iydm flyer english.jpeg

If You Do Mind is the name of No Name Kitchen health's program, where refugees and individual donors are connected to cover medical expenses in situations where no public health systems can't ensure a full protection of the person in need. This flyer explain how it works and how to create the connection in between refugees and host communities.

18 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Antonija Potočki
Team

You are one of the best people I have ever met! Amazing way of working, amazing volunteers, amazing ideas! Thank you NNK ��

View all comments