"Mit Migranten für Migranten - Interkulturelle Gesundheit (MiMi)" - With Migrants For Migrants – Intercultural Health

"Mit Migranten für Migranten - Interkulturelle Gesundheit (MiMi)" - With Migrants For Migrants – Intercultural Health

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Ethno-Medical Center e.V. (EMZ) is a nonprofit organization which aims at promoting equal opportunities and social and health equality for migrants by rendering existing public and non-public services more accessible, increasing health literacy among migrants as well as empowering them and building bridges between cultures and language groups by developing mediator programs for migrants. The EMZ also supports quality improvement and aims to improve (cost-)effectiveness and efficiency of medical services. The improvement of health is an existential basis for the life success of migrants, and the overall democratic integration of host societies and hence a central change factor in a globalizing world.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

MiMi has positive and sustainable effects on all social groups and institutions involved in the intersectoral approach. Key persons of migrant communities are carefully selected and function as role models and 'acknowledged experts' for their communities. The well integrated help integrate the less well integrated. Both groups become more motivated and empowered. Natives gain a positive image of migrants, regarding and approaching them as active members of society. Public institutions are sensitized, gain access to migrant communities and treat migrants as equal partners. Private enterprises recognize diversity as market advantage and are encouraged to employ (more) migrants. Therefore the MiMi programme is an approach to promote - alongside the health of all members of a society - the general integration of this society. That means that in this society migration signifies a positive potential for both sides, the immigrants and the society of the host country. As the approach can be adjusted to new thematic fields and target groups it is possible to transfer the concept of the programme to other countries and the needs of their migrant populations. MiMi serves as a tool to meet the manyfold needs of migrants all over the world - as migrants themselves are the key within the concept.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The programme “With Migrants for Migrants – Intercultural Health” (MiMi) which was developed by the Ethno-Medical Center and was launched in 2003 aims to make the health (and education) system more accessible to immigrants, to increase their health literacy and to empower them through a participatory process. MiMi stands for “With migrants For Migrants”. It is a system for health education and health campaigns, conducted in more than 15 languages to date. The MiMi programme was created to train socially well integrated migrants to provide support to those less well integrated. MiMi does this by recruiting, training and supporting intercultural mediators to enable them to teach the health system of the hosting countries and related health topics to their migrant communities.
About You
Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum

Organization Phone

(00)49 (0)511 168 41020

Organization Address

Königstraße 6

Organization Country

, NI

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NI

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

Migration processes have increased during the past decades. Germany, too, is a country of immigration. In 2009 the number of persons with migration background in Germany amounted to 16 million - more than 715 000 persons than in
2005. The proportion of the population with migration background has increased from 18.6% to 19.6%.
When compared with the host population, immigrants face higher risks of poverty and ill health. These risks stem from the immigration process, which can entail adverse living and working conditions, as well as social exclusion.
Through lack of language skills and cultural differences migrants' access to and information on (German) health care is hampered.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Ramazan Salman is the son of Turkish parents immigrating to Germany in the early 1960s. When he was a boy he experienced that he was always and again needed as an interpreter for his family and relatives when they needed to go to the doctor. His German was very good since he grew up in an environment where he was almost the only Turkish pupil around. So he was well integrated into both worlds - the Turkish community and the German world around. From his childhood on, he learned about the difference culture makes. He realized that there was a need to build bridges between cultures i.e. between the different languages as well as the non-verbal cultural characteristics. After his studies, in the early 1990s he founded the Ethno-Medical Center as a registered association and along with it launched the first German community interpreting service for the social and health sector. It served as a model for many more community interpreting services all over Germany and Europe. The next step was then not merely to help when there was an urgent need to see a doctor but to help spreading information on healthy living and prevention to those who would not be reached by usual prevention measures and information. First of all there was a focus on the prevention of drug abuse and infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS) which lead to the launch of "Interkulturelle Suchthilfe" (intercultural addiction treatment) - the forerunner of "MiMi". Encouraged by the great initial success he developed this train-the-trainer-concept to a more general level, encompassing now 17 different health topics.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

All activities within the framework of the programme are evaluated. Evaluation results are used for the constant improvement of the programme's measures.
Since 2003 MiMi trained more than 1800 migrants as mediators and has expanded to 56 cities in Germany and 6 cities in Europe. There are expressions of interest to implement the programme from many different directions.
In 2007, the WHO identified MiMi as a best practice model for the inclusion of socially marginalized groups.
Moreover, the programme and its initiator have been awarded several prizes over the past years.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

We are on the brink to a new level of internationalization. The 6-month milestone is the implementation of MiMi in Austria.

Task 1

Negotiating with all Austrian bodies we need in order to establish MiMi in Austria

Task 2

Recruitment of mediators

Task 3

Organization of initial information campaigns and meetings in diverse Austrian migrant communities

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Further internationalization beyond Europe and thematic enlargement: a coordinated public health and university building project in Northern Iraq.

Task 1

Negotiating with ministers of the Kurdish regional government of Northern Iraq (the minister of health and the minister of education)

Task 2

Determine partner universities in Northern Iraq and finding out what they need to build psychological institutes able to deal with traumatization and other psychological needs of the population

Task 3

Develop a joint curriculum with German university partners and finding starting points for a culture-specific transfer of a cost-effective support system for public health according to the MiMi model

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We are going to develop with partners global educational migrant networks focussing on health literacy and the promotion of migrant-specific forms of social entrepreneurhip. In order to achieve global educational networks we will develop online curricula.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

n the past 10 years, the EMZ has grown from a local organization to a major national, European and international institution. It has gained political relevance in the fields of health, migration and integration. In some cases, we have contributed significantly to the development of new government policies at national and state level. However, with changes in political environment it may become difficult to maintain the course which might in turn lead to financial bottlenecks. Since the EMZ has increasingly been covering a wider thematic range of services as well as a broader field of activity operational and strategic planning on the board needs to become more sustainable and more effective. We need an enormous amount of conceptual, human/social and strategic know-how to be able to structure and manage processes effectively. Therefore, we need competent board members of national relevance, like former politicians or ministers or deans who require meeting the thematic, political and technical needs of our organization. Moreover, to become independent of political trends the achievements and ongoing work need to be firmly fixed in German/European/global politics and positioned within a financial framework of cooperating agents. Mixed funding should be strived for to diminish financial risks: private enterprises, public funding and foundations as financiers shall provide risk diversification.

Tell us about your partnerships

Public institutions: state governments of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia are main financiers of MiMi programmes running in several federal states of Germany;
German Universities: Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munic, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, Centre for Social Investment and Innovation at the University of Heidelberg, Centre for Turkish Studies and Integration Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Ulm, Hannover Medical School are partners in research projects (surveys) accompanying or associated with MiMi Programme;
Health insurance funds: Company health insurance funds on regional (state) and national level are financiers and partners in all German MiMi programmes;
Companies: Sanofi Pasteur MSD is financier and partner in the MiMi programme running in Lower Saxony (with a focus on vaccine prevention); BMW and Stadtentwässerung München (municipal drainage) were financiers and partners in the 'IBGM programme': We adopted MiMi for the corporate sector as a model for „Health at the Workplace“ in the context of In-Plant Health Management for migrant employees at BMW car factory and Stadtentwässerung München.

Explain your selections

Individuals: donors of the non-profitable registered association, the many migrants trained and involved as mediators, community interpreters
NGOs: the many on-site partners, often local caritative or social organizations
Businesses: Sanofi Pasteur MSD, BMW and Stadtentwässerung München are financiers and partners in MiMi programmes or programmes following the MiMi model (see above)
Regional government: state governments of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia are main financiers of MiMi programmes running in several federal states of Germany (see above)
Customers: apart from an interpretation service EMZ is also running a translation office for external customers the revenues og which are used to accommodate budget

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

As referred to in other sections we shall be striving for mixed sustainable funding, new human ressources, regional and thematic enlargement to strengthen the project. Alongside with this we need to sustain and promote regional, national, European and global networking.
Furthermore, professional trainings and coachings of EMZ-Management in the field of social entrepreneurship shall support the process of growth with its particular requirements.

Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Lack of access to targeted health information and education


Limited access to preventative tools or resources


Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

EMZ particularly aims at overcoming language and cultural barriers between migrants and the public health sytem. An interpreter service provides the public health and social services with community interpreters who act as intermediaries between patients/clients and health professionals. Intercultural training seminars for health professionals to sensitize them for different concepts of body and health are another measure to facilitate migrants' access to the health system.
MiMi programme does both: overcoming language and cultural barriers - by spreading information materials on the health system and health related topics in 15 different languages (in Germany) as well as by running native language information campaigns with mediators reaching out to migrant community settings.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Grown geographic reach: Global


Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

MiMi is being transferred to other fields and sectors. The transcultural mediator model has been implemented Europe-wide (Copenhagen, Tallinn, London, Rome, Istanbul, Brussels) in the EU-funded aids&mobility europe project.
We have conducted a MiMi finances programme by training migrants as financial mediators to help fight lack of financial literacy among migrants.
We adopted MiMi for the corporate sector: „Health at the Workplace“ in the context of In-Plant Health Management for migrant employees at BMW car factory and Stadtentwässerung München.
We initiated the "Arbeit & Gesundheit" programme to improve health literacy among unemployed people over the age of 50 (40% migrants) in order to reintegrate them in the first labour market.
Expansion to Austria and Northern Iraq.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Most collaborations provided financial support. Collaborations with universities have created affiliations and resulted in intellectual exchange, academic monitoring and scientific research (publication of studies). This also helped to broaden the field of activity by adjustment of programmes to particular requirements of different contexts (e.g. health in the workplace).
Moreover, these collaborations - especially those with governments - have lead to mutual benefit - with EMZ as European centre of exellence being invited to relevant conferences in the field of health, migration and integration and influential person like the Minister of State, Prof. Maria Böhmer acting as patron of the MiMi project.