IOM Norway Migrant Training unit offers Pre-departure Orientation (PDO), courses for Norway-bound quota refugees. The course is about information about Norway and offered in the first country of asylum after they have fled from their country of origin. The program is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi) and IOM Norway is responsible for the overall implementation of the program.

Some refugees are resettled in their countries of resettlement without being given accurate and relevant information about their new country. The result is often an extended period of adjustment, during which the newcomer may suffer personal challenges.

The resettling municipalities point out that none, too little or wrong information about Norway and Norwegian society often gives resettling refugees unrealistic expectations about their new country. Participation in orientation class not only makes the actual travel to the new country less stressful for the refugees, but it also eases the initial adjustment period. Reducing the possibility of culture shock for the refugees and managing their expectations may make their integration into their new municipalities smoother.

Since the inception of the program in 2003, nearly 21000 quota refugees have received pre-departure cultural orientation. This compromises persons from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Myanmar, Palestine, South Sudan, and Syria.

The program as well provides Refugee Country Information seminars including information about the targeted beneficiaries, to municipal workers. 

Many countries receiving refugees see the benefits of pre-departure orientation. In addition to the Norwegian PDO, IOM is implementing pre-departure orientation for migrants and refugees bound for Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and UK among other countries. 

Target Groups

The Norwegian Parliament decides annually the target groups and the number of quota refugees to be resettled in Norway. In the year 2022, the target groups have been mainly Congolese from Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritreans, Rohingyas, South Sudanese, and Syrians.

Pre-departure Orientation Classes

Pre-departure orientation classes are provided to Norway-bound quota refugees in their first country of asylum prior to their departure to Norway. 

The participants are divided into groups according to their age. Children under the age of 8 do not receive the course. Children between the age of 8 and 12 are given 10 hours of orientation over a period of 2 days, while participants from children 13 to 16 years 15 hours of orientation over a period of 3 days. 

Adult, 17 years and above, are given 25 hours of orientation over a period of 5 days. The classes emphasize on a participatory approach and combine discussions, audio-visual teaching aids, role-play and learning through dialogue and case studies.

The curriculum for adults includes topics like the resettlement process in Norway, climate, history, geography, housing, the introduction programme, education, health care, employment, and other public services. Special attention is given on topics such as customs and habits, so that possible misunderstandings in when meeting the Norwegian culture are reduced, while creating a basic understanding of Norwegian values and norms.
 
The children's curriculum includes topics like Norwegian school system, being a child/teen in Norway, children’s rights, and more. This teaching is based on games, play and interactive activities

Country Information Seminars (Landinfo)
  • Would you like to know more about the history, culture, or conflict in the country of origin of refugees? 
  • Would you like to see visuals or know more about the living conditions in the countries of first asylum where refugees were living before they moved to Norway?
  • Would you like to improve your understanding of cultural values, behaviour, and communication style with refugees?
  • Would you like to know about possible integration challenges?
  • Would you like to hear from the newcomers themselves how they have experienced their new life in Norway so far?

The PDO programme staff has the knowledge and experience about the above-mentioned topics, and we are happy to share this information with you. Together with you, we can jointly organize a meeting, or a seminar tailored to your municipality's interests and needs.

What is a country information seminar?
  • If this is first time that you are inviting IOM to your municipality to talk about refugees, the agenda could include the following topics:
  • A brief presentation of IOM
  • Information on what the refugees learned about Norway during their CO classes before they arrived at your municipality
  • Information on refugees' country of origin and the transit country including:
    1. Geography-geopolitical setting, demography, ethnic groups, languages, religion
    2. Conflict and security situations
    3. Cultural differences
    4. General discussion on integration and how best to assist the refugees to become self-reliant

Countries
IOM Norway offers municipality seminars mainly about Afghanistan, DR. Congo, Eritrea, South Sudan and Syria. We also offer seminars on Rohingya

Costs and Responsibilities
IOM will take care of the content and presentations. In case of in-person seminars, we will also cover all the costs related to the travel of our staff members to your municipality. Your municipality will be responsible for providing a venue, inviting, and informing participants.

Participants and types of seminars
Invited guests to the seminar could include municipality refugee workers, introduction programme teachers, health sector personnel, teachers, kindergarten teachers, church representatives, police, social office, employment office, potential employers, NGO's, representatives of UDI and IMDi's regional offices, neighbours of refugees, or any other interested persons in your municipality. 
IOM offers both virtual and in-person seminars and encourages municipalities to organize a joint seminar where many municipalities for the region can participate.

Duration of the Seminar
The length of the seminar can be tailored to your interest and needs. Usually, it takes about 5-6 hours to go through the agenda. This would include lunch and coffee breaks. The seminar is held in Norwegian. 

Contact
For more information and to plan a seminar, please contact us iomosloLMI@iom.int