Training Workshop on Standard Operating Procedures for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana to Make Multifaceted Assistance Sustainable
Ada, Ghana – From 29 March to 1 April 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the government of Ghana, organized a 4-day workshop to sustain the use of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana.
The training organized as part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, allowed participating stakeholders – representatives from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), CSOs, international organisations and the academia – to build their capacities in the provision of sustainable reintegration assistance.
Participants also discussed 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 training will go a long way to ensure that all migration stakeholders are abreast with key protection and migration management issues, as well as with best practices for the reintegration and protection of our fellow Ghanaians. The learnings from this workshop will also inform the Bill for the establishment of the Ghana National Migration Commission,” said Rose Tsorhey, Director, Policy Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of the Interior.
Ms Tsorhey highlighted the main takeaways to ensure the effective and efficient reintegration of returnees: the need to further strengthen national structures, the adoption of best practices of coordination mechanisms, better collaboration among stakeholders, and a smooth referral of migrants to relevant institutions for the provision of services as needed.
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. The overall aim of the SOPs is to coordinate reintegration assistance across actors to help Ghanaian returnees rebuild their lives back home – in economic, social, and psychosocial terms.
Innovative and integrated approaches involve reintegration at individual, community and structural level. Economic reintegration assistance includes guidance to set-up income generating activities. But the holistic approach also recognizes the effect that irregular migration has on the mental and physical well-being of a returnee. In this regard, psychosocial counselling, support for medical needs, community sensitization on issues related to stigmatization and capacity building of community leaders in the provision of psychological first aid are key components of the reintegration process.
“A holistic reintegration approach supports returnees in attaining economic self-sufficiency and social stability within their communities and ensures their psychosocial well-being.,” says Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission. She also stressed the importance of Government ownership: “The SOPs are a milestone in the advancement of migration governance in Ghana. All stakeholders need to play their part in the complex process of reintegration to make sure it is sustainable.”
Since May 2017, through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, IOM has supported approximately 1,850 Ghanaians with their voluntary return home, with the majority from migration-prone areas Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Western Regions. Over 600 returnees have completed their reintegration to date, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The SOPs are one key milestone to ensure the safe and orderly return and sustainable reintegration of returnees through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative. Another key pillar is raising awareness of the risks of irregular migration and informing citizens of safe migration pathways. To this end, a nationwide multi-media campaign under the hashtag #LetsTalkMigration has targeted specifically the youth, who, as analysis of data has shown, are at a higher risk of migrating irregularly. It has reached over one million Ghanaians in several communities across the country.
For more information, please contact Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager, EU-IOM Joint Initiative, IOM Ghana at firstname.lastname@example.org