Reflection has continued within the team with the aim of integrating this new practice into the professional culture.


During the evaluation phase, the team shared their desire to spread the participation of peer carers in the accompaniments in two ways:

  • During the support, raise the issue of peer support by asking the refugee (« would you be interested in helping or giving your help to another refugee one day? »); observe their reaction, listen to their feedback It’s an additional lever in my support, even if they are not a peer helper at the time, the proposal will perhaps trigger a reaction later on…« 
  • Suggest that they be included in the questioning, that they be called upon during workshops, or when first-time refugees need answers to questions

Clarification work was still needed.


On 21 June 2022, the Refugee Integration Unit met to consider the more systematic implementation of peer helpers within the Unit. The aim was to reflect collectively on the following points:

  • Definition of the role of peer helper (in relation to our expectations, volunteers?)
  • What is the posture of the peer helper (confidentiality?)
  • Tools: volunteer charter – certificate of participation – volunteer’s booklet?
  • Define a list of peer helpers (existence of a list of peer helpers who are no longer (e.g., accompany/identify potential peer helpers etc. in the follow-up during discharge)
  • Planning a peer helper meeting with old and new carers to develop a sense of belonging to a group

The first elements are as follows:

  • Refugee from the Integration Pole.
  • Volunteer
  • With particular and specific skills in relation to the volunteer:

✅professional » posture, benevolent listening

✅with some hindsight as to what is to be shared or not with the other person

✅intervention for experiences involving notions of interculturality

✅willingness to open up to others and share experience

✅notion of advice, guidance, (knowledge of codes in France, and customs)

✅respect for autonomy (not making people dependent),

The next steps to boost implementation are launched:

  • Checking the tools
  • Identification of volunteers and peer helpers
  • Communication preparation for a simple explanation of the difference between volunteers and peer helpers
  • Contact with identified peer helpers
  • Organisation of a convivial time
  • Identify actions in which peer helpers could/would like to participate

the question of volunteering

  • Should we stick to the idea of volunteering with the limits that this implies in terms of availability?
  • Should gratuity be allowed or should it be paid? Should it be made a profession within the Foundation?


The project seems to have enthused the professionals and given rise to successes and satisfaction for all the actors involved, despite the difficulties and limitations mentioned. However, the question of the employer has arisen: questions have arisen in terms of labour law and human resource management issues.


The question that arises in the team today is: what sustainability do we want to give to this peer helper function within the COS Foundation? With what means? What impact in terms of human resources management should we take into account, whether the function is internalised or externalised? These points still need to be explored, with the involvement of management.



Inspirational resources for the experience


  • Mentoring practices in Europe and North America, Strategies to improve the labour market participation of migrants, Milica Petrovic, Migration Policy Institute (MPI), King Baudoin Foundation edition, Migration Policy Institute, 2015
  • Developing peer work in the field of social surveillance, accommodation and housing, Fédération des Acteurs de la Solidarité and Délégation interministérielle à l’hébergement et au Logement
  • The role of the linguistic and cultural mediator: the experience of the Crinali cooperative (Mila, Italy), Maria Luisa Cattaneo, Karina Scorzelli La Pensée sauvage | « The Other », in Cairn
  • Plateforme Promotion et développement du travail pair en région Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Relais Ozanam, Grenoble Alpes métropole, Grand Lyon métropole, DRDJSCS, ARS Rhône- Alpes,

Monitoring and evaluation tool




First name


COS, Coordinator









Flight 33



Refugee food festival



peer helper



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peer helper



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Memories of highlights