Sirkuksesta siivet elämään (Wings to Fly – Social Circus Empowers)











Good Practice Criteria

Inclusivity & Participation

Does the practice ensure that its services are accessible and responsive to diverse groups?

The practice works to be as accessible as possible: participation, for example, does not require certain language or other specific skills, and activities are adjustable. Participants’ different needs, cultural backgrounds and beliefs are taken into account in practice design and implementation, and cooperation was increased in order to better reach the target audience.


Inspiring tools:

Find further information on the circus technique here.

Good practice checklist

✓ Adopt a participatory, gender mainstreaming, age sensitive, inclusive approach and secure equal opportunities for beneficiaries.

✓ Make sure to provide precise and accessible information on how to access services in different languages, formats and through different communication channels

✓ Ensure that equality and diversity are an essential part of how services are delivered, taking into consideration different needs and capacities.

✓ Make reasonable adjustments to service delivery in order to take into account particular needs of the target group.

Does the practice involve the active participation of the receiving society?

The receiving society, including local authorities and institutions such as schools, was very active in the implementation of the practice, and social circus workshops were organised by local social circus organisations and volunteer workers. Youth members of the receiving society were also able to participate in some of the social circus workshops, which improved mutual communication and social relations.


Good practice checklist

✓ Consider integration as a two-way process, and aim for change on the side of the receiving society.

✓ Foresee an active role for the receiving society in the design and implementation stages of the practice, and involve actions that encourage native communities and beneficiaries to work together.

Does the practice consult its beneficiaries and involve them in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the action?

Beneficiaries were asked to give feedback throughout the project, and workshops were organised and designed according to this feedback. In one city, a local migrant youth organisation directly participated in the implementation of the practice. The practice made use of material from a previous project organised by one of the cooperating partners, which involved co-creation with beneficiaries.


Good practice checklist

✓ Organise consultation activities with migrant beneficiaries in order to co-create actions where possible and secure their feedback on the design and evaluation of the action.

✓ Provide appropriate feedback mechanisms by which beneficiaries can safely express their opinions on service quality.

– Use flexible and interculturally-adapted formats and compensate participants for their contribution.

Relevance & Complementarity

Are the objectives of the practice relevant to the needs of the migrants?

The practice identified a lack of language skills, a lack of knowledge of the culture of the receiving society, previous education, and receiving society attitudes as the main reasons for the marginalisation of migrant youth. The practice provided a safe environment for these youth to try new things, make mistakes, develop new skills, and learn the relevant language by using it in action, and the activities also represented a space in which migrants and locals can form relations in a safe, supported environment.


Good practice checklist

✓ Identify and analyse the needs of the relevant migrants and prioritise methods which directly ask them about their needs.

✓ Identify and analyse gaps in integration support and design actions to fill these gaps.

– Aim for systemic improvement, satisfying the needs of the majority of target groups in the target area.

Is the practice relevant to the empowerment of migrants, the strengthening of their autonomy and the support of their long-term integration?

The practice empowered migrants by facilitating their personal growth and their successful development of new language and social skills. Participant feedback showed that they felt their courage and confidence had increased as a result of their involvement in the project.

Good practice checklist

✓ Devise actions with the overarching goal of providing positive feedback and making migrants more confident, autonomous and independent.

✓ Contribute to migrants’ engagement with the community for the common good.

Ensure that services contribute to the strengthening of the capacities of migrants/migrant communities. 

✓ Include (or create the preconditions for) actions that facilitate long-term integration.

✓ Address discrimination and information gaps as obstacles to long-term integration.

Does the practice align with the priorities, strategic goals and policies of other relevant stakeholders, and contribute to the wider integration framework?

The practice contributed to the wider integration framework by providing guidebooks and material on using social circus methods as a tool for integration, as well as on working with migrant youth more generally. The practice supports and teaches equality.

Good practice checklist

✓ Ensure that all actions are in line with international and European human rights standards.

✓ Employ regional/local, national and EU/international level integration-related guidelines and tools.

✓ Make sure that the services offered contribute to the strengthening of the capacities of relevant institutions to support future development.


Is the practice adequately planned and based on a comprehensive design?

The practice is adequately planned according to a comprehensive design, with clear objectives and intended outcomes, which includes strategies for communication and for managing human resources. Experts from relevant fields – such as those experienced in working with migrant youth or skilled in the social circus approach – were invited to share their knowledge. Each workshop was run by both a female and male instructor, to ensure equal representation and accessibility. Training was included in the staff management plan.

Good practice checklist

✓ Aim for actions that achieve observable outcomes among the target group or contribute to changes during the implementation of the action.

✓ Make sure that the objectives and planned results of the activity are feasible and clear.

✓ Develop a communications strategy during the design phase of the action and pay attention to communication with host communities and local authorities.

✓ Ensure the practice is based on indicators that are measurable, achievable, and relevant.

✓ Develop a staff management plan to identify team members with the right skills to work with beneficiaries, and their needs for training and further qualification.

Does the practice regularly monitor implementation and evaluate its results?

The project was monitored by the Children and Youth Foundation and the social circus instructors, and results were regularly evaluated. Overall supervision of the practice was carried out by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Feedback from beneficiaries, circus instructors and teachers was mostly positive, and the practice was considered successful. It contributed to long-term, sustainable change in the field of migrant integration thanks to the training it offered and its promotion of mutually beneficial relations between migrants and local organisations, authorities and institutions.


Good practice checklist

✓ Ensure regular monitoring of action implementation and compare actual performance to goals set during the design phase.

✓ Anticipate obstacles that might occur and plan alternative scenarios during the design phase of the action.

✓ Ensure achievement of intended outputs / outcomes.

✓ Determine whether practice outcomes are considered successful by beneficiaries, the host and practitioner communities, funders, and policymakers.

✓ Assess whether interventions contribute to long-term sustainable change.


Is the practice prepared to sustain its positive effects after completion?

The project aimed for continuation of its positive effects by sharing its tools and information with relevant actors for use after its completion. Guidebooks and other useful materials were published, for example, for people working with migrant youth, and training was provided to professionals and students in relevant fields who were able to use their new-found knowledge for the betterment of the wider community.

Good practice checklist

✓ During the design phase, anticipate opportunities to continue the intervention after completion.

– Prepare and apply a well-defined sustainability plan to ensure the continuation of positive effects / outcomes.

✓ Devote resources to building capacities during the implementation phase, in order to ensure that the necessary human resources, expertise and infrastructure are in place to sustain the services upon completion of the action.

Does the practice attract structural funding and support from new sponsors and individuals, or have the potential to develop a business model to generate its own resources?

The practice and its published materials were designed to be absorbed into existing structures, for example into the school education system and social circus programmes. The project worked to strengthen connections between relevant stakeholders.


Good practice checklist

✓ Develop partnerships and relations with relevant stakeholders at the early stage of the action to ensure that the practice has strong support and potential partners for after the primary funding terminates.

– Identify new EU and national funding opportunities for long-term integration (e.g., shifting from project-based initiatives that are limited in time or dependent on one (external) donor to a comprehensive, multi-year strategy based on secured funding or diverse funding opportunities).

– Diversify funding opportunities and identify options for self-financing through business activities or social entrepreneurship.

Partnership & Collaboration

Does the practice establish communication and coordination with other relevant actors to foster the integration of migrants? (e.g., migrants, civil society, public authorities, businesses)

Cooperation between migrants, civil society and public authorities was an important part of the practice. Successful implementation and target group engagement was ensured through collaboration with local authorities and institutions working with migrant youth.

Good practice checklist

✓ Ensure the involvement and participation of key stakeholders in the development phase and create strategies to involve them in the action.

✓ Include multi-stakeholder consultation with professionals, institutions, and citizens, in order to promote the meaningful participation of refuges and migrants and support a joint sense of ownership of decisions and actions.

Does the practice contribute to discussion on the improvement of integration support policies?

The project contributed to the improvement of integration support through the implementation of a successful pilot practice and toolkit, using social circus methods. Further, the practice initiated and encouraged communication between different stakeholders, ensuring more comprehensive understanding of and commitment to integration support.

Good practice checklist

✓ Seize opportunities to contribute to the development of comprehensive integration strategies involving EU-level/national/regional/local authorities, service providers and civil society.

✓ Work with relevant partners to jointly review operations, practices, services, and integration outcomes.


Non- EU Partners


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SPRING has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation under the grant agreement 101004635. All views expressed are those of SPRING and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information this website contains.

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