Opportunities for a fresh start back home and prospects for staying
‘A fantastic opportunity,’ says a delighted Mame Ndiaga Sarr. The German-Senegalese advice centre together with the GIZ, found him a place to train as a solar technician.
The trained electrician can now obtain further training at the ‘Bayrisches Haus’ in Thiès, 70 kilometres to the east of the capital Dakar, which is a competence centre funded by the Free State of Bavaria and set up by the German development agency GIZ. He also found a job there: among other things, Sarr is now responsible for facility management at the ‘Bayrisches Haus’ building.
Mame Ndiaga Sarr knows what it feels like to have no prospects. And how tempting the yearning to have a better life can be. In 2015, he left his home country, because there is high unemployment in Senegal. This is why he set off for Germany in the hope of finding work. His application for asylum was turned down in Germany so Sarr, who is now 33, had to return to Senegal.
Finding a job with the right advice
Senegal is just one of many countries with high rates of unemployment. In particular, young people from economically underdeveloped regions see migration as the only means of escape. However, local opportunities exist – but there is a lack of information on employment and training options. Advice centres like the one in Dakar fill this void.
They provide information on education and training options, job opportunities in the region and the requirements for legal migration to Germany. The centres also help returnees from abroad to reenter the local labour market. The staff there provide one-to-one advice and can, for instance, source tailored training measures and help those they are advising to set up their own local businesses.
At present, GIZ is operating a total of eight such centres in Albania, Ghana, Iraq, Kosovo, Morocco, Senegal, Serbia and Tunisia on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in each case cooperating with the national labour administrations. The centres, which have gradually been developed since 2015, have attracted considerable interest. To date, around 38,000 advisory sessions have been held, including just under 2,000 with people who have returned to their home country.
Hand in hand: Better opportunities for a new start thanks to tailored local further training
However, the advice centres are only one element of BMZ's ‘Returning to new opportunities’ programme. They work closely with employment promotion projects locally, which also receive additional funding from the programme and are implemented by GIZ. Working in cooperation with local partners, these projects offer a large number of training and education opportunities for applicants to gain further qualifications in their existing line of work, thus allowing them to improve their labour market prospects. This is because certain sectors such as IT or finance are often looking for personnel but do not find any qualified applicants. In addition, founders' training assists those who are interested to become self-employed.
Thanks to support from these projects, more than 85,000 of these ‘fresh starts’ have been created since mid-2017. Furthermore, more than 3,500 people have been able to find a job.
Advice in Germany for returnees
Even when they are still in Germany, people who are interested in returning can obtain advice on a fresh start in their home country. To make this possible, GIZ works closely with municipalities and supports services provided by from registered charities or social partners.
Reintegration scouts build bridges between returnee advice in Germany and services in the returnees' home countries in selected municipalities and at church and social agencies such as Caritas and AWO. The scouts support advice centres by establishing contact with one-stop shops in the respective countries. They also provide information on employment prospects and services in the home countries – such as guidance on starting up a business or training and education courses.
‘Successful in Senegal’ is an example. The programme allowed Mama Ndiaga Saar to gain qualifications in the field of renewable energies – for long-term prospects in his home country. ‘So, I no longer have to leave my home country and emigrate to Bavaria. Instead, Bavaria has come to me.’