Opportunities for a fresh start back home

21.01.2019 - Article

Young people from economically underdeveloped regions often see migration as the only means of escape. But there are different ways for people to go back home and re-establish good job prospects, writes the German development agency GIZ.

Advice with prospects: The Senegalese-German advice centre found a placement for Mame Ndiaga Sarr.
Advice with prospects: The Senegalese-German advice centre found a placement for Mame Ndiaga Sarr.© GIZ

“A fantastic opportunity,”says a delighted Mame Ndiaga Sarr Gueye. The German-Senegalese advice centre, which the GIZ operates together with the Senegalese employment agency, informed him about his professional options and helped him find a job.

The trained electrician is now responsible for facility management and event logistics at the “Bayrisches Haus”, a competence centre funded by the Free State of Bavaria and set up by GIZ in Thiès, 70 kilometres to the east of the capital, Dakar. At the same time, he can also train at the facility to become a solar technician. There is a high demand for the qualification in Senegal, where only around 40 percent of the country is connected to the power grid.

Mame Ndiaga Sarr Gueye 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 Gueye, 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 provides 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 (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, more than 40,000 advisory sessions have been held, including over 4,200 with people who have returned to their home country.

The advice centres provide a wide range of services such as job fairs and one-on-one advice.
The advice centres provide a wide range of services such as job fairs and one-on-one advice.© GIZ

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, almost 200,000 of these ‘fresh starts’ have been created since mid-2017. Furthermore, around 7,300 people, including over 1,700 returnees, 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 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 is making it possible for Mame Ndiaga Sarr Gueye to work at the Bayrisches Haus and gain qualifications in the field of renewable energies – giving him 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.”


Top of page