Sustainable Reintegration of Migrant Returnees in Africa Tackled at “European Development Days”

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration, EUTF

Brussels – Return migration has been an important aspect of increasing human mobility in recent years, with more migrants returning to their countries of origin for a variety of reasons. Return is often followed by reintegration, a complex, multifaceted process of re-including migrants into their communities and society. With this has come a wider recognition of the importance of ensuring a holistic and coordinated response that creates the conditions for sustainable reintegration.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union (EU) and partners will explore the issues faced by migrants returning to countries in Africa, the governments receiving them, and the communities within which they reintegrate at a brainstorming lab at the European Development Days in Brussels on 18 June.  

The EU-IOM organized session, “Towards the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa” will invite debate on how return migration and reintegration of returnees in Africa can make a broader and more sustainable impact and contribute to the reduction of inequalities.  

Participants are set to discuss – from the perspectives of returnees, communities, and governments – how transforming reintegration support can ultimately enhance social cohesion, reduce inequalities and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.   

“While some migrants return to welcoming contexts and reintegrate in a smooth manner, many face challenges they cannot overcome on their own and need support in their reintegration,” said Guglielmo Schinina, IOM’s Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication.   

“This support needs to address the interrelated psychological, social and economic aspects of readapting to the country of origin. At the same time, individualized assistance must be balanced with community-based initiatives because it is crucial that the community is impacted positively as well,” he added.   

IOM’s Schinina will join Christoph Pelzer, EU Trust Fund programme manager in the Delegation to Guinea, European Commission DG for International Cooperation and Development; Mienye Badejo, Deputy Director of Labour, Head NELEX/MRC (Lagos), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Nigeria; and Tsion Zeleke, Child Protection and Migration Thematic Director, Save the Children Ethiopia.  

The Brainstorming Lab is being moderated by Hans Christian Stausboll, Head of Unit for Eastern Africa, Horn of Africa at the EU Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.  

“As part of our comprehensive approach to return migration, the EU recognizes that return and reintegration policies are more effective when linked with the protection of migrant rights and development of opportunities in the country of origin, particularly those that address the drivers of irregular and forced migration,” said Stausboll.   

At the lab, groups will also exchange good practices, and review needs and challenges that returning migrants, communities and governments face in relation to mental health and psychosocial well-being, labour market access, education and culture. Crucially, they will consider the role of government actors and programmes such as the “EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration” to promote inclusive reintegration practices that respond to the priorities of individual returnees and their communities in an integrated and mutually beneficial way. 

IOM’s office in Nairobi is also running satellite events through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative to mark the EDD in Africa. An information session and photo exhibition highlighting some the programme’s interventions will take place at the UN complex in Gigiri. A second event will feature a staging, by a drama group from the Mathare informal settlement, of irregular migration as a consequence of inequality and a perceived lack of viable life options.   

For more information: 

Funded by the European Union and running from 2016–2020, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration covers 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa. It is the first comprehensive programme to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. As part of this approach, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative provides assistance to returning migrants to help them restart their lives in their countries of origin through an integrated approach to reintegration.  

European Development Days is the EU’s flagship development event, and this year marks its 12th edition. The annual forum has attracted 42,000 participants – including 7 Nobel Prize laureates and 100 world leaders – from over 154 countries, representing 4,500 organizations in the fields of development cooperation, human rights and humanitarian aid since 2006.  

For more information on the EU-IOM Brainstorming Lab taking place on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 from 13:30 to 14:45 in room B1 at the Tour & Taxis convention centre in Brussels, please visit:  

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels, Email: [email protected], Tel: +32 2 287 7116 

  • IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

  • IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

  • IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM