Reintegration Counselling Sessions for Senegalese Returned Migrants: A First Step Towards Reintegration

Published Date: 
Tue, 04/16/2019
Country: 
Senegal

Dakar – The second round of reintegration counselling sessions for migrant returnees was organized on Monday (15/04) by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Directorate of Senegalese Abroad (Direction Générale des Sénégalais de l’Extérieur – DGSE) in Senegal.

Designed as the first step towards a successful reintegration process, the sessions will target the 3,670 Senegalese who were assisted to voluntary return between 12 June 2017 and December 2018 through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in 12 regions of the country.

The objective of these sessions is to identify the priority needs of returned migrants, answer their questions on their reintegration process, facilitate the identification of the migrants’ aspirations and the assessment of their skills.

These sessions include two modules on personal development and entrepreneurship. The modules, provided in local languages, aim to offer the participants basic notions of entrepreneurship, and identify training and employment opportunities in their communities of origin while motivating them.

To implement this activity, 60 facilitators and 10 DGSE staff members were trained in coaching and basic notions of psychosocial support for three weeks in Toubacouta, in central Senegal. After the training, 48 attendees were selected and recruited by IOM to lead the reintegration counselling sessions and facilitate the reintegration of the migrants.

“Returned migrants are easily frustrated and misinformed. But once the entrepreneurship module is provided, they become interested and ask for more information to have the necessary tools to implement their projects,” said Bénédict, one of the session’s facilitator.

"Although frustration dominates our condition as returned migrants, these sessions allowed us to ease the tension created by social prejudices. Then, we gradually regained confidence in ourselves. In the end, what struck me most was that some of us who did not have a job were able to find a solution throughout the discussions around entrepreneurship, while the possibility of sharing their experiences motivated them to start an activity," said Massaer Kairé, a returned migrant who participates in the counselling sessions in Guédiawaye, Dakar.

At the end of the sessions, some participants pool their resources to develop an economic activity in a field of their choice such as agriculture, handicraft; others created associations to raise awareness among young people about the risks of irregular migration.

During these sessions, some returnees also received information on the possibility to obtain support to resume their studies. Facilitators established migrant profiles to ensure a better implementation of the reintegration projects. In March 2019 only, IOM and the DGSE conducted 28 reintegration counselling sessions for 437 Senegalese returnees.

These activities are part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Senegal, implemented by IOM and the Government of Senegal. The overall objective of this project is to contribute to strengthening migration governance and ensuring migrant protection, return and sustainable reintegration in Senegal.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, covers 26 African countries and has been established in close co-operation with these countries.

For more information, please contact Khady NGOM at IOM Senegal, Tel: +221 77 156 27 31, Email: kngom@iom.int