Our Approach

Education and Training

The objectives of Symbiosis’ education programme include:



We believe education is both a human right in itself and a means of realising other human rights—through education, socially marginalised individuals can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate fully in their communities. With our work as affiliated to the Council of Europe Network School of Political Studies in Greece we aim to investigate democratic processes and strengthen democratic culture, encouraging dialogue between civil society, policy makers, activists, experts and the media and community organising for a more democratic, equal and sustainable world.

Training and learning programmes play an important role in building the capacity of individuals, organisations and institutions to contribute to building democratic institutions and citizenship. We develop training materials on key topics, undertake education about them, while networking those trained so they can learn from each other’s experience. We employ experiential methods to create a space in which individuals can reflect on their own practice and learn new approaches, techniques and tools in order to ensure that their work actively contributes to democracy.


Symbiosis collaborates globally with over 50 partners across our programmatic work.  We have cultivated national and regional partnerships over the years, and maintain trust-building as a central component of our relationships.

We believe that solutions to inequality and injustice can only be achieved by centering the voices of those directly impacted by injustice—voices that are too often silenced. Our extensive network of long-standing partners enables us to work in a contextually informed way, collaboratively linking various understandings and perspectives. The insights we gain from our international, on-the-ground work informs our approach to policy dialogue and institutional engagement.

Democracy requires collaboration with others. The issues we aim to address require a multi-dimensional approach that is beyond the reach of a single entity, and solutions to societal problems must by their very nature be applied from within society. Therefore, we often rely on people and organisations representing marginalised communities to define and achieve transformative changes, and we acknowledge that we must work within networks and partnerships in order to have an impact at any significant scale.

Migration and Gender Sensitivity

Few countries make systematic efforts to integrate migrants, refugees and asylum seekers into their social and political fabric, and fewer can claim success. Consideration of gender contributes to redefining what the concepts of justice, equality and freedom can and should mean. Because of existing social inequalities, marginalised groups are suffering from social exclusion and isolation. Social inclusion is not only a “two-way process”, but rather involves many actors, agencies, and judgements about how people forge relationships to enhance connectedness with a place.

Symbiosis’ approach to migration and gender sensitivity is based on the belief that governments, organisations and individuals who adopt these approaches to their work cannot only minimise the risks of doing harm, but can actively contribute towards building positive social inclusion and change. We support the mainstreaming of migration- and gender-sensitivity practice into the operations of organisations to address power dynamics.

Symbiosis focuses on migration and gender analysis, migration and gender assessments, and research, capacity building and training. We emphasise the need for structural changes and local engagement integrated into project or programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; for migration and gender sensitive regional, country and sectoral strategy development and implementation, monitoring strategies and organisational policy reforms; and for facilitated consultations and participatory implementation processes.


Symbiosis believes in evidence-informed policy. Our research ensures that our interventions and programmatic decisions are based on a strong understanding of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Continual rigorous analysis forms the bedrock of our programming efforts to address the drivers of inequalities and human rights violations, and enables us to effectively adapt to changing dynamics.

Symbiosis undertakes an array of insightful and innovative research and analysis—from discrimination, to the climate crisis and forced displacement, to migration and governance. Our research takes many forms, including detailed academic analyses, topic and country analyses, policy papers and practice notes, education manuals and toolkits.

Beyond informing our own practice, our research helps us reframe issues when engaging with actors in the field.  Providing alternate, unbiased perspectives can help people identify pathways to transforming relations and resolving conflict. As a key ingredient of Symbiosis’ policy advocacy, we strive to ensure that our research not only sheds light on challenging issues but also provides decision-makers with practical solutions.

How Change Happens

By building capacity to protect rights, by bringing people together across sectors and divides to address barriers, by speaking out publicly against abuses, by forging partnerships for global and local change we work for equality, justice and inclusion. Human rights change starts with knowledge of how to advance change of the legal and institutional and of to address the facts. Our experts undertake research and analysis into human rights and rule of law violations by governments and others at the local, national and European levels. We use our analysis to influence and press governments, companies and decision-makers.

Education and Training is as much about enabling a cultural or institutional shift towards more positive practices as it is about developing skills. Participants are equipped with both conceptual and practical ways with which to instigate change. Whether we are working at a local or international level, with individuals, with organisations or with governments, we root our capacity building in direct experiences of democracy and share the challenges of policy making practice. We aim to be context-specific, tailoring our approach to the needs and learning approaches of participants.