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General presentation of the MIMNA project

Clarification of the principles of representation

In a Universal Design approach, the development of the non-linguistic booklet has required the definition of principles and codes of representation that can make sense for UASC, regardless of their language and culture of origin and avoid, as far as possible, the interpretative biases. The stylized, symbolic or metaphorical pictogram types, which only make sense in terms of conventions and socio-cultural stereotypes, have been avoided. We have favoured explicit and realistic representations that correspond to a scriptwriting of the information[1], which can reflect the young person's previous or future experience. The choice of the representations were informed by the field survey conducted as part of this project, and the field expertise of the professionals working with the UASC.
 In designing this booklet, we have chosen to take into account the statistical prevalence of UASC arriving in France (mainly male, aged 16 and from West Africa). The representation of the UASC, as well as some representations related to scenes taking place in the country of origin, have also been designed with this prevalence in mind.

Details on informational content

The MIMNA booklet aims to reduce the informational insecurity of UASC by optimizing their informative social support to enable a better appropriation of their environment in France: fundamental rights, administrative/judicial procedures, socio-cultural codes of the institutional environment, identity and role of professionals, risks and prevention of trafficking in human beings. However, let us specify that this tool not only makes it possible to dispense information, but also to collect it (identification of the UASC, his or her family, health problems and medical history, and school).
The content follows the latest recommendations of the Council of Europe (2018) on access to child-friendly information in a migration situation: access to rights, services of protection and care, age assessment procedures, immigration/asylum procedures (duration, possible outcomes, appeal procedures), education, health, information on the country where they are staying, etc. About procedures, it follows the so called Circulaire Taubira (2013).

A non-autonomous booklet: part of device of mediation of knowledge

Such as this would be the case for a brochure or leaflet, it must be noted that this booklet is not a autonomous tool. It cannot be distributed to UASC on arrival to be understand on its own. Indeed, it has been designed as a support for interactions between UASC and professionals. It must allow to open an information space that sometimes does not exist. It is therefore essential that this booklet be explained by a professional. Thus, this tool does not relieve professionals of the burden of their informational responsibility towards UASC. On the contrary, it gives them a tool to optimize the effectiveness of the transmission of information.

Getting started by professionals

As with the use of the booklet by UASC, its use by professionals is not autonomous. Indeed, in order to open an effective information space, the use of the booklet requires to be included in multimodal mediation strategies[2](linguistic and non-linguistic). That is why, the purpose of the user guide aims to equip professionals in order to support their mediation strategies to convey a real child-friendly information.

User guide: a preliminary before using the booklet

We invite professionals to read this user guide in its entirety before the first use of the booklet with the UASC. Indeed, we have to warning users about counterproductive effects if the booklet is not part of global information process. It could increase UASC’s informational insecurity. For instance, this booklet not introduced by a professional leaving the responsibility to another youth to explain it, could have anxiety-provoking consequences related to the risk of misinformation. Indeed, we know that the transfer of that responsibility on peers speaking the same language as an UASC arriving is a common practice. Yet it appears in our field survey that this practice is inefficient: the young transmitters have not yet grasped enough rigorously information that has been transmitted directly to them.

[1] By scriptwriting information, we mean a representation principle used for the comic strip.
[2] We talk about “multimodality” to integrate all the resources (vocal and gestural, linguistic and non-linguistic) who have a role in communication, in the production and the interpretation of meaning.

Submitted on January 26, 2024

Updated on January 26, 2024