Policy Work

A goal without a plan is just a wish - How we want to change German law

  • 2 August 2022
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A goal without a plan is just a wish - How we want to change German law
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Insights into our 5-Step-Plan for advocacy.

Do you know this feeling? You’ve set yourself a huge goal but you have no idea where to start? We feel you…


The first version of Germany’s nationality law goes back to 1913. Over 100 years of history. And, therefore, over 100 years of tradition about what a German citizenship means and who is allowed to have one.

Regardless, we set ourselves the goal of transforming German nationality law and reforming the bureaucratic processes that are connected to it.

As you might assume, with this goal in front of us, our main question was: How?

As in, with capital letters: HOW?

How does a small team like ours attempt to achieve this? In order to answer this question, we sat together (virtually) as a team and defined a plan - our "project plan". We then clustered the plan into five overarching project stages and are happy to share them with you.


Here you get a first insight into our 5-Step-Plan.

Stage 1 – Dipping our toes into the water:

Exchange & discussions with non-governmental and academic experts

To get started, we reached out to several actors, mainly international, in the statelessness sector to collect various feedback and diverse viewpoints on our plan, strategies and focus areas.


Stage 2 – Putting our heads down – aka full focus:

Drafting policy recommendations

Based on the insights we gained in Stage 1, the team then fully focused on formulating our demands. We were able to define four main areas and underlying aspects connected to it. We will soon share those political demands in more detail.  


Stage 3 – Getting to the exciting part

a) Turning to the real experts

As soon as the demands were shaped and ready for a first look. We reached out to the real experts on statelessness: Those who experienced it themselves. We asked for their opinion. We asked what they find most important and whether there is something they disagreed with.


b) Turning to those who need to become our allies

We also sent our policy recommendations to members of the German parliament. Mainly to those in political roles that are connected to integration, migration and nationality. We asked for a meeting to present the issue and our work to them and were lucky enough that a number of them replied. More about that soon.


Stage 4 – Practicing what we preach

Continuous improvement & development 

We are now in the stage of acting the way we said we would do. This means taking the feedback and using it to change and improve what we have created so far. It also means to adapt the priorities we have set ourselves and change them based on the priorities that were mentioned by stateless people.


Stage 5 – Getting our hands dirty

Implementation of the first project

In September we will hopefully have the chance to start the real work. This means that we will choose one focus area to implement the first change. Best case this is an area in which political will and the priorities of the stateless community in Germany are aligned. A small hint: Improved conditions for naturalisation of stateless people and the establishment of a statelessness determination process might not be out of sight anymore.


Long story short:

We didn’t know if it would work but so far our approach has been successful. We are happy that our collaborative approach led us to a stage in which we have been in contact with everyone from stateless people to academics to politicians. Now we can use this collective input for real change.

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