Best practices for trainers (Part 1)

by Niina Halvorsen
Migrants’ Background

As mentioned in our previous articles, the role of the trainer is of paramount importance for the effective delivery of a training directed to migrants and displaced people in transition. To achieve this result, the trainer should take into account the following elements:

  1. Migrants’ Background
  2. Cultural Differences
  3. Communication and Language
  4. Relationship Building and Trust
  5. Responsive Teaching Methods

Let’s explore the first area: Migrants’ Background


Learners come from different cultural backgrounds, and speak different languages, and there is a diverse financial, academic and legal status among the participants. Issues to be considered in the teaching environment are i.e. limited language skills, lack of knowledge in personal financial management and budget planning, as well as lack of resources, confidence, and experience.

Understand financial, trust and knowledge barriers

The trainers should recognise their role as the supporting medium in the learning process. While training and educating, they are at the same time influencing and enhancing learners’ self-esteem and self-dignity. The real-life variables should be always considered. It is important to address – in a non-aggressive and non-pessimistic way – any potential issues, barriers, and difficulties the individual learner could face when dealing with money for example. Teachers/trainers would need to understand the main financial, trust and knowledge barriers:

  • An underdeveloped financial services industry and financial consumer protection in the home and/or host country: lack of a mature financial services industry in the home country or village, lack of banking infrastructure, lack of appropriate products for migrants in their host country or town and anticipated or actual difficulty providing required proof of identity.
  • Cultural and social attitudes, trust, and confidence: lack of familiarity with the system, cultural or religious differences, mistrust of financial services, misunderstanding or mistrust about the role of the banking sector in identifying illegal immigration, and fear about the extent to which money and transactions can be traced.
  • Knowledge, skills, and access to services, including education: limited language skills or low levels of literacy and numeracy, lack of confidence, experience, or ability to access telecommunications and internet technology, low levels of financial literacy, and inadequate provision of financial education.

Understand the urgency and distress of the situation

Teachers/trainers would need to have an understanding of the urgency and distress that migrants might be experiencing:

  • The importance of being able to transfer money across borders cannot be overlooked, but the needs of refugees and migrants in general to access financial products and services goes far beyond the need to remit.
  • They also need to be able to manage money in their host country and may require a variety of financial products and services including savings products, electronic payment facilities and access to credit and insurance.
  • Refugees’ specific difficulties (as a sub-group of migrants) are potentially compounded by the urgency of their situation, their migration to countries that they know little about (and where they cannot immediately rely on existing support networks) and their limited possibility to liaise with family members at home or elsewhere.
Empowerneurship for Newcomers in Europe