IOM, Partners Host Workshop to Improve the Well-being of Returnees

Published Date: 
Mon, 04/15/2019 - 08:00

Benin City- “Reintegration back home can be mistakenly conceptualized as an easy process as migrants return to their community and family,” said Gaia Quaranta, IOM Thematic Specialist at the Regional Office for West and Central Africa. “This assumption fails to consider the readjustment hurdles they might face such as the mental health challenges caused by extreme adversity and potentially traumatic events.”

Nigerian migrants who embark on irregular journeys to Europe often face extremely difficult circumstances and are confronted by extreme stressors. Many have been subjected to gross human rights violations including torture, modern slavery, sexual violence, forced labor, detention and exploitation by their captors and traffickers.  

To facilitate the reintegration process of Nigerian returnees, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Nigeria organized a workshop on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) interventions to returning migrants from 18-20 March in Benin City, Edo State.

The event brought together government and non-government stakeholders engaged in providing MHPSS and other related services to returnees.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a frame of understanding of the psychosocial challenges of migrants returning to Nigeria and to reinforce the technical capacity, necessary skills and knowledge of practitioners to provide effective psychosocial support.

The event looked at the complex, multidimensional process of reintegration, which requires a consideration of the various factors impacting an individual’s process after return.

The workshop focused on practical instructions where participants were encouraged to share information, knowledge, skills and professional experiences that can contribute to everyone’s learning. It was organized in coordination with IOM’s Regional Office for the European Economic Area, the European Union and NATO, and the Regional Office for West and Central Africa.

“Mental health and psychosocial activities have become an indispensable component for reintegration", said Ruth Mbugua, IOM Nigeria Protection Officer. “The workshop covered multiple aspects, which looked not only at the impact of MHPSS interventions on migrants but also at how aid workers can enhance their skills to ensure their own well-being,” she added.

Since April 2017, IOM, in collaboration with the government of Nigeria and with support from the European Union, has facilitated the return and reintegration of over 12,000 migrants stranded along the Central Mediterranean route.