Provided that return to home countries represents a safe and voluntary option, IOM assists a growing number of migrants who wish to return to their community of origin. Reintegration has become a key aspect of return migration. Through the SSS 2, IOM reinforced reintegration support to the most vulnerable returnees, and also sought to nurture the global thinking around reintegration and to put into practice a new approach to sustainable reintegration.
Frank, 32 [above], is originally from Nigeria. He used to own a boutique back in Nigeria where he sold clothes. However, he wasn't earning enough to support himself so he decided to try his luck abroad and left for Europe. Once he reached Libya, he tried crossing to Europe by boat three times, once the boat capsized and the two other times the boat was intercepted and he got arrested. The first time he was arrested, he was put in prison for the following six months where he endured humiliation and abuse. He was eventually sold to a man who made him work on his farm for three months. After the third time he tried to reach Europe, he decided to return to his home country and got in touch with IOM in Niger. IOM assisted him and brought him to its transit centre for migrants in Arlit where he received the appropriate assistance. Once he reached IOM’s centre in Agadez, he was informed about the DFID-funded business management classes IOM offered at the centre, and decided to participate. Frank was part of the one-week training in business management taking place each week at IOM’s transit centre in Agadez, Upon his return, Frank can use his newly acquired skills to make his business successful, and thus, he will be able to provide for himself and his family, and give up the dream of embarking on a perilous journey through the desert in order to reach Europe.
- In Guinea 435 people have been supported to develop sustainable and localised business plans, as a way of improving their livelihoods.
- In Niger, 2996 people have attended business trainings, to help them prepare for the workplace when returning to their home countries.
- In Senegal, Guinea and The Gambia, centres to support returnees were either established or rehabilitated to provide support to returning migrants. This included providing migrants with essential items and temporary accommodation, before they continued their onward journey home.
- IOM piloted new kinds of reintegration mechanisms including a mentoring approach in Morocco, Senegal and Guinea. The mentors help connect returnees with relevant services and advice and have helped improve migrants’ reintegration outcomes. A reintegration handbook was developed and published for practitioners, to help them implement this approach. As of May 2021, this was downloaded more than 13,000 times.