Buddy Programme FAQ

Understanding Europe: Helping Young Refugee Men Integrate In Germany



What Is The Buddy Programme?

The Buddy Programme is an extension of our series of workshops where we meet regularly with a group of young refugee men and discuss questions about society and social values. The Buddy Programme is an important extension of this project that pairs the workshop participants with German or German-speaking men between the ages of around 25-30 (‘peer buddies’) or with older men aged 40 and above (‘father figures’). The buddies meet regularly – around twice per month – for a period of six months and engage in cultural and social activities together. The aim of the buddy programme is to strengthen the integration process for workshop participants and give the buddies a chance to meet and work with refugees to get a better picture of their lives in Germany.




How Does The Buddy Programme Work?

The buddy programme has six stages.

  1. Buddies are recruited;
  2. Buddies attend a training session given by Social Science Works to establish the expectations, limits and ideas behind the project;
  3. Buddies attend a meeting with workshop participants – a kind of ‘speed dating’ for buddies. After the meeting, workshop participants will nominate up to three potential buddies;
  4. Social Science Works will pair buddies accordingly and as far as possible. Any mismatches can be resolved in the early stages of the programme itself;
  5. Buddy programme begins in earnest. Buddies will meet approximately twice monthly for a period of six months;
  6. Final meeting of all buddies and participants where both parties give feedback on the experience to Social Science Works.


What Kind Of Activities Do Buddy Pairs Do?

This is very much up to the pairs, but we have a good list of potential activities and places to visit. We encourage buddies to find activities that suit both parties – be it going to the cinema, attending the theatre, taking a walking tour, seeing a sporting event or whatever else appeals. Buddies are encouraged to contact Social Science Works in the cases where they have ideas for specific activities for support securing free or subsidised tickets.


Who Can Be A Buddy & What Is Expected Of Them?

We are looking for buddies from all walks of life. Although we are looking for men within the age ranges of 25-30 or 40+, we welcome students, mechanics, shop assistants, lawyers, nurses and alike. We are primarily looking for open-minded people that are able to commit to the project and want to get to know a refugee over the course of six months.

In terms of expectations, it’s important to stress that buddies are not at all expected to fill the role of a social worker – in that way buddies are not expected to help with administrative or bureaucratic questions – instead buddies should focus on getting involved as a friend with their partner.


What Support & Training Is Available To Buddies?

Buddies will undertake a training programme conducted by Social Science Works before the programme begins properly. In addition to the training programme, each buddy pair will have a contact person at SSW in case they encounter difficulties with their partnership. The buddies will be supported by SSW throughout.


Where Is This All Happening?

The workshop participants all live in Brandenburg. As such, buddy meetings should take place in mutually convenient locations – Potsdam is perhaps ideal, but Berlin or other places in Brandenburg are also good options as meetings spots.


What Happens When The Programme Ends?

When the programme ends, Social Science Works will undertake an evaluation of the project for a best practice report. Buddies and participant will be given the opportunity to give feedback about their experiences and give suggestions for improvements. This is also an opportunity for student buddies who might be interested in taking part in the research element of the project for a BA or MA thesis project.

In terms of the personal relationships between participants and buddies: this is entirely up to each individual.


Who Funds The Project?

The project is funded by the Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung and the Land Brandenburg.


About Social Science Works

Social Science Works is a social enterprise putting social science research to work for civil society and democratic decision making. It helps stakeholders that are affected by research to assess, via second opinions, the quality and reliability of this research. It helps people to understand and evaluate research and policy making via courses and workshops. And it critically researches academic research, education and practices. Strengthening the societal relevancy of social science and the quality of public decision making is our goal. It was founded by a group of academics from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and comprises scholar from around the world.



You would like to participate in the program? Please contact us:

sarah.coughlan@socialscienceworks.org ; mobil: 0152 25721820


Flyer in German, English and Arabic

A flyer for younger refugees about the program can be found here.