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“Sustainable Reintegration in Afghanistan” kick-starts its activities with the first online meeting

On 10 June 2020, the Swedish Migration Agency and ERRIN organised the virtual kick-off meeting for the new project, “Sustainable Reintegration in Afghanistan” (SRA). After an update by ICMPD on the current situation in Afghanistan, the Afghan project partners presented the project activities whose aim is to tackle challenges faced by returning Afghanis and establish a new pilot approach to reintegration.

The Afghanistan Centre of Excellence (ACE) is an Afghan owned professional services company, which supports national and international stakeholders from the public and private sectors in their quest to tackle pressing social and economic issues the country faces.

In the framework of the SRA project, ACE will implement post-arrival business training for returnees based on a tailor made, 8-day programme. The training sessions have been specifically designed to boost sustainability of prospective business plans and increase the impact of reintegration assistance, To make the sessions accessible, they will be free of charge, with all related costs, such as travel to Kabul, reimbursed. The first training will target a group of people who had returned to Afghanistan before all travel was suspended in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic.

Lapis is a full-service strategic communications agency supporting local and global efforts to bring about positive change in frontier markets and challenging environments. Since 2004, they have pioneered strategic communication approaches designed to support to socioeconomic growth of the country and improve the lives and livelihoods of all Afghans.

During the kick-off meeting, Lapis presented their strategy of engaging with communities in Kabul and Gazhni to gain in-depth understanding of social dynamics that prevents people from coming back to Afghanistan and explore the issue of stigmatisation. The insights gained by Lapis will possibly serve counsellors in Europe to better support the prospective returnees.

By facilitating direct interaction between the project partners and counsellors, the meeting was a first step to create a sustainable platform for exchange and build a community of practice around the reintegration process in Afghanistan, focusing on the key role that the family plays in the process.

Forty participants attended the meeting, including counsellors from Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. They advocated for a follow-up event to discuss feedback loops on all the lessons learnt and insights gained through project activities. The virtual kick-off was a beginning of a longer-term, regular exchange between return counsellors in Europe and ERRIN partners in the countries of origin.

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