Civil Society in the Spotlight: Giulia Capitani from OXFAM Italia

Civil Society in the Spotlight: Giulia Capitani from OXFAM Italia

For the last nine years, Giulia Capitani has served as a Senior Policy Advisor at OXFAM Italia where she works with planning and implementing advocacy strategies on migration and asylum. Giulia represents OXFAM Italia in national networks focused on migration and asylum and regularly publishes on the topic. Previously in her career, she held other positions with OXFAM Italia’s Health and Migration Office and worked as a researcher regarding health care in the Tuscany region. 


1. How has OXFAM Italia’s mission and practice evolved since you started working with them?

Given that OXFAM Italia addresses a wide range of topics, it’s a difficult question – however, in regard specifically to the organisation’s work on migration issues, we have increased our actions to be increasingly anchored in the inequality framework the last few years.

In practical terms, we increased our cooperation with local partners in the spirit of empowerment, for one example – handing over the practical management of reception centres for migrants to local partners, giving OXFAM more capacity for working with advocacy or legal support).


2. What have been some recent successful projects or practices OXFAM Italia has employed that you think can be transferable to other CSOs working in the migration space?

 The ongoing In My Place intervention, through which we submitted a proposed law establishing a national fund for young people (both of Italian citizenship and not) that supports access to housing through rent contributions, is a great example of our work.

Of course, the approval of such a proposal is not secured, but its articles and principles can be used for other legislative processes, like amendments to other laws and can serve as a base for the convergence of different actors in the field.

Additionally, a previous project led by the Never Alone initiative, in Tuscany, which helped shaped a Protocol that will be signed by the Region, the Juvenile Court, and the regarding the possibility to “extend” the non-mandatory guardianship of young migrants who arrived to Italy as minors (beyond adulthood), is something we see as a success.

In addition, restrictions on advocacy for migration and related topics driven by the current political situation in Italy have meant that we are exploring other avenues like strategic litigation and communications and public engagement around this approach. We were recently part of a successful class-action lawsuit against the Home Affair Ministry and the Prefecture of Milan for the delay in issuing permits of stay to migrants. We are now discussing whether and eventually how to continue this strategy.

Building upon a local network of stakeholders and fostering further connections is a good practice that we recommend and that we will try to capitalise further for the housing topic.


A conference held in Livorno on the topic of voluntary guardianship, October 2023 (image credit: OXFAM Italia)


3. Can you tell us about the alliances OXFAM Italia creates with student associations to support its mission?

The housing crisis is having a huge impact on university students and their families, and students have managed to make the problem visible.

We had two meetings so far – locally with the University of Bologna and nationally. Student associations expressed interest in being involved in the project’s research and policy activities, even though their focus, at a first sight, is more about raising awareness rather than about proposing and experimenting good practices (i.e. cohabitation).

We believe that a positive narrative framework about housing young people with different backgrounds is much needed, and it is something we are working on actively.


4. How does your team connect your work to the broader debate around housing access and inequalities?

Thanks to the In My Place intervention, we are now part of two networks that work on access to housing – at a local level with the Region of Tuscany and nationally. Both networks were set up recently and are in the phase of finalising a general policy document, covering a quite large range of topics.

At the national level, we will also start in the following weeks to collaborate on the organisation of the first Social Housing Forum that will be held in Bologna at mid-April 2024.

A collaboration between Oxfam and a very know local restaurant in Livorno called “Kitchen without borders”, December 2023 (image credit: OXFAM Italia)

Through our participation with the National Asylum Platform and the Minor Migrant Platform, work with a number of organisations to do joint advocacy activities on the topic. Currently, we are working on a campaign about the (dubious) ongoing practice of pulling 18 years old males out of the reception system without a safety net, in cooperation with other 20 organisations.


A collaboration between Oxfam and a very know local restaurant in Livorno called “Kitchen without borders”, December 2023 (image credit: OXFAM Italia)


5. What have been the key learnings for OXFAM Italia on your EPIM-supported project?

  • The importance (and the challenge) to combine advocacy at local and national levels
  • The importance, if possible, to always start from a consultation or co-working phase directly with the beneficiaries or partners of the projects – here it was with the care leavers associated with one of our partners, Agevolando


6. Knowing what you know now, what would you advise practitioners entering the migration field today?

Have a strong preparation in immigration law and the willingness and the ability to work on the campaigning and communication side.

Read more Civil Society in the Spotlight interview here.