Migration stakeholders in communities build capacity on Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana

Published Date: 
Wed, 06/30/2021 - 22:00

Sunyani, Ghana – From 7 to 11 June 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the government of Ghana, organized a 5-day workshop to build the capacity of government and non-government stakeholders on the reintegration of returnees in Ghana. The training was based on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Return and Reintegration. As part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the training workshop has enabled participants to provide sustainable reintegration assistance.

“For us at the Government level, it is crucial to ensure that key actors in migration-prone communities who are often the frontline workers when it comes to the reintegration of returnees, are up-to-speed with the complex process of reintegration and can assist the returning migrants humanely, effectively, efficiently, and sustainably,” said Rose Tsorhey, Director, Policy Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of the Interior.

Besides introducing the key concepts and principles of return and reintegration, the workshop covered a range of topics, including: reintegration assistance at individual and community levels, migrants’ mental health and psycho-social support, psychological first aid, dealing with stigmatization and trauma, self-care and support to vulnerable migrants, as well as monitoring and evaluation. Discussions of reintegration support at the structural level evolved around the set-up of a national referral mechanism which would enable the efficient, appropriate referral of returnees to existing services as part of a coordinated reintegration approach.

The SOPs were developed in consultation with the Government of Ghana and launched in September 2020. They clarify the processes related to reintegration, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved. They aim to coordinate reintegration assistance across actors to help Ghanaian returnees rebuild their lives back home – in economic, social, and psychosocial terms.

“A holistic reintegration approach supports returnees in attaining economic self-sufficiency and social stability within their communities,” says Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager at IOM Ghana. “This is not a one-sided process and requires the active involvement of the communities to which migrants return. The complex reintegration process can only be sustainable if all parties at community level play their part.”

The training is the second edition following a first workshop targeted at national migration stakeholders in April 2021. Sunyani, the location selected for the cascade training, is the capital of the Bono region, which, together with its neighbouring regions, is among the areas in Ghana that have recorded the highest rates of return of migrants stranded in Libya and Niger since 2017.

As part of the project, IOM has been implementing a series of community-targeted interventions, including capacity building for community leaders and community sensitization to address irregular migration and returned migrants’ mental health, as well as support to Migration Information Centres of the Ghana Immigration Service.

Since May 2017, through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, IOM has supported 1,876 Ghanaians with their voluntary return home, with the majority from migration-prone areas Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Western Regions. Over 700 returnees have completed their reintegration to date, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager, EU-IOM Joint Initiative, IOM Ghana at pbhalla@ionm.int