This is a short presentation of the methodology and rationale used for selecting a number of community leaders for the migrant community of egyptian fishermen in Greece. For the full paper visit our Documents section or download the paper from here.


SELECTING MIGRANT COMMUNITY LEADERS

Ιn order to effectively disseminate the program's core objectives, goals and potential benefits within the communities of the Egyptian migrant fishermen in Greece, we have engaged in the task of identifying a number of leaders in each of the regions that host such communities of a considerable volume.

Approaching a migrant community in order to inform them on a project designed for their benefit in absence of the targeted migrants, poses great difficulties as mistrust, suspicion and hesitance could emerge as typical and common-place human behaviour. To overcome these barriers it is advisable to centre the efforts of developing the required social ties around specific members of the community who may have the necessary qualifications that will act as dilutions of mistrust and reservation. Particularly the Egyptian fishermen are basically isolated from the local Greek communities due to the nature of their work, having a small degree of interaction with locals.

The idea that an organisation, the national authorities of the host or the sending country or even an international entity (such as the EU or UN) would offer them assistance and possibilities to upgrade their working skills or promote development in their region of origin, should be absent or occupying a minute part of their minds. And this was the case with the targeted community, as these people (a fact that emerged after collecting information on their views and opinions) considered themselves totally forgotten from the Egyptian national authorities while no serious efforts have been made by the Greek state to address their issues and grievances up until now. Adding to the potential "shock" that could be created among the beneficiaries is the conduct of the questionnaire-survey with its success being entirely dependent on the quality of the developed inter-personal ties with the migrant fishermen.

PROFILING THE CANDIDATE MIGRANT COMMUNITY LEADERS

Since the initiation of the "leadership identification" task, we were in search of the following specific qualifications and characteristics that would be integrated into a single member of the targeted community. In particular the potential leader should:

• Be fairly educated, computer-literate, with a good level of use of the Greek language

• Be open and non-hesitant to the prospects of our project, eager to be involved in the implementation for the benefit of his community

• Possess good communication skills and attitudes and hold recognition among his community as an ethical person, being able to influence the perception of other members towards our project goals and benefits

• Have entrepreneurship qualities and ambitions and if possible experience

• Be aware and willing to discuss and act on the major issues that affect his community, the legal, social and economical processes that shape their lives in the host country

• Enjoy a moderate level of interaction with the local host community.

The above general characteristics were imported in part into the field-questionnaire that was handed out to the Egyptian fishermen and the required leadership attributes, each corresponding to a separate question in the questionnaire, were designed to be identified through the field - questionnaire collection process through our entire target sample population of the 500 Egyptian fishermen.

Formal Evaluation Methods: In order to evaluate the candidate leaders using the questionnaire data, we employed certain methods of Multiple-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). These were the Simple Additive Weighting (SAW) and the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). In essence we applied weighting to the above objective criteria corresponding to the importance of each criterion as a leadership attribute.

The process has as follows: We come up with a pool of candidate leaders employed in the ports where our field questionnaire survey took already place. Since for the important ports we include in our research, a second or even a third visit takes place (following the initial visits where the questionnaires were handed out and filled-collected), we try to come in contact during the subsequent visits with the members of the community that were identified as possible leaders through the questionnaire data analysis. In this way we assess the suitability for leadership of the candidate migrants and for those cases that seem to possess the required attributes we discuss and "assign" them practically the role of the community leader for the purposes of the project (they know very well the content, objectives and targets of the project so that they understand their role) . We have to mention that in some cases the selected leader may not be part of the "questionnaire-identified pool", but simply a latest result of our social interaction with the fishermen community in the various ports visited. This can be so when evident leadership appears among those non-interviewed members of the community as the sampling is random and/or the specific leader may not be present the day of field questionnaire collection. In such cases, we include the person in our questionnaires and we use subjective evaluation through knowledge and experience collected by intermingling with the fishermen community and upon the positive opinion of this last as per above-mentioned informal-qualitative criteria. These were also the cases of certain leaders that egregiously fitted to our candidate profile, usually being "assigned" the role of the community leader from within the community prior to our contact with them.