Addressing the issue of post-return stigma and equipping the returning migrants with a set of skills necessary to run a successful business can not only generate more opportunities for returnees, but also improve the overall sustainability of reintegration. To tackle these challenges, ERRIN supported the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA) in the development of a project “Sustainable Reintegration in Afghanistan.”
Seven million Afghans are currently living abroad, making Afghanistan one of the key counties of return for most ERRIN Member States. Returning from Europe can create new opportunities, both for the individual and his country of origin. Setting up a successful micro-business, for example, can lead to a greater business diversification, sustainable growth and economic independence. However, most returnees opt for “quick fixes” – they purchase a taxi, livestock or open a grocery store as part of their reintegration package – largely because they are unaware of other options they could go for.
Solution? Providing returnees with tailor-made business trainings sessions, implemented through a network of local actors, can stimulate innovative thinking and diversify business ideas.
At the same time, the key for sustainable reintegration is not only equipping the returnees with practical tools to start a new life in their country, but also tackling the issue of stigma they often face back home. To this end, the project explored the potential of increasing the acceptance for returns among families and local communities. By better understanding the social dynamics that prevent people from coming back to their country of origin, we also aimed at equipping counsellors in Europe with relevant information that can help them support prospective returnees.
The pilot project was concluded in early 2021 with the Afghanistan Center for Excellence and Lapis acting as the local implementing partners.
Take a look at the linked news features to learn more about the project outcomes and watch the testimonies of our beneficiaries.