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In the Words of Migrants: Returnees from Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal Tell their Own Stories of Return and Reintegration

Cover of the documentary ''In the Words of Migrants
Cover of the documentary ''In the Words of Migrants

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released a new documentary on 2 September that features the voices of migrants who tell their personal experiences of return and reintegration.

“In the Words of Migrants: Stories of Return and Reintegration”, stresses the importance of assisted voluntary return and a tailored reintegration assistance to returnees. It highlights the protection, reintegration and mental health and psychosocial support IOM provides to migrants during their return journey and upon arrival to their country of origin.

“Upon return, migrants have to start afresh and need to cope with the psychological or physical consequences of their journey. The return and reintegration assistance is a major support for their recovery and contributes to their social and economic reintegration”, says Emanuela Muscarà, Regional Coordinator of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for migrant protection and reintegration programme.

In close cooperation with state and non-state stakeholders, the programme assists returning migrants to restart their lives in their countries of origin through an integrated approach to reintegration that supports both migrants and their communities.  Actions implemented by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative focus on the sustainability of reintegration through strengthening the capacities of governments and creating partnerships in all areas covered by the programme. Reintegration support also aims to unleash the full potential of returnees to become key actors in local development, and help address some of the drivers of irregular migration.

Launched in December 2016 with funding from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is the first comprehensive programme to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. The programme covers 13 countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, where IOM closely works with governments, European Union delegations, civil society organisations, as well as international organisation, including UN sister agencies.

Since its launch, the programme has assisted at least 77,000 Sahel and Lake Chad nationals on the Central Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean route with voluntary return. It has enabled life-saving assistance to stranded migrants, some of whom were detained or rescued in the Sahara desert.

In Sahel and Lake Chad region, over 66,000 returnees received reintegration assistance, including counselling, economic and social support, mental health and psychosocial support.

Watch the full documentary in English here, or in French here.

Learn more about the EU-IOM Joint Initiative here.

For more information, please contact Alpha Seydi BA from the Regional Communications and Media Unit, at, +221 77 345 74 54.