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Strengthening the sustainable and holistic reintegration of returnees in The Gambia

África Central y Occidental
Actividades pasadas
Fechas de inicio y fin
17 Diciembre 2018 – 17 Marzo 2022


UN Peacebuilding Fund - MPTF


International Organization For Migration (Lead Agency)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
International Trade Centre (ITC)

Contact info

Simonette de Asis,

Overall, the project is aimed at strengthening the foundations of peace by fostering positive economic and social interdependencies between returnees and host community members by facilitating sustainable and holistic reintegration that will contribute to enhanced social cohesion and inclusion. Furthermore, it aims to create an opportunity for increased community and government engagement through peacebuilding initiatives to change the public’s perception of stigma and discrimination in migrants’ communities of return.

It seeks to promote behaviour change and positive appreciation and acceptance of returnees in their respective communities of origin by de-escalating the stigma and negative perception they face upon return and providing them with the chance to contribute to local peacebuilding initiatives and decision-making processes that will enhance peaceful coexistence and promote sustainable and holistic reintegration.

The project is also aimed at strengthening community structures to better facilitate reintegration in communities that have been affected by an influx of returnees resettling back in The Gambia and to strengthen the provision of protection, mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) through a socially inclusive approach for peacebuilding. 

Main reintegration activities:
  • Aligned with the vision of the National Development Plan (2018-2021), the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM) was established on 6 November 2019 under the leadership of the Office of the Vice President (OVP). With the establishment of the NCM, the Government of The Gambia (GoTG) has put in place a coordination structure to ensure a whole-of-government approach to migration governance. The NCM launch also included a Global Compact on Migration (GCM) prioritization exercise where GoTG selected 15 priority objectives to address in the short- to mid-term. Under the overall guidance of the OVP as the lead for the NCM and technical lead of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad (MOFA), the first voluntary national review of The Gambia GCM implementation progress was finalized and published in May 2021. The review contributed to the 2021 Africa Regional Review that will serve as an input to the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) to be conducted in 2022. The NCM had further been operationalized into eight Thematic Working Groups (TWGs).
  •  A research study on return and reintegration of returnees in The Gambia, was finalized in October 2020. The research highlighted gaps and areas to focus on through engagements, profiling, and interviews with numerous stakeholders including returnees, community members/leaders, and relevant stakeholders from different government and non-governmental institutions. Key among the gaps highlighted is the limited availability of coherent systems to address the social, economic, and psychosocial needs of returnees. For a better understanding of the linkages between migration, return, and reintegration and how successful reintegration influences social cohesion and peacebuilding at the community level, some of the findings revealed that 44 per cent of community members believe that returnees are reintegrated and better settled now than before and two thirds (68%) of community members are of the view that migrant returnees need more financial support to ensure their full reintegration. Furthermore, 72 per cent of returnees engaged in Focus Group Discussion (FGD) sessions want to stay in The Gambia and contribute to national and community development.
  •  Capacity building training of health workers and community change agents covering all the seven regions in the country to provide basic MHPSS services to community members, especially returnees. 
  • Supported the GoTGs national response to manage the surge in COVID-19 cases, and to further mainstream MHPSS during the pandemic.  These trainings also included Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures which were done in 2020, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), benefitting a total of 725 (333 female, 392 male) healthcare and frontline workers from private and public hospitals.
  • Additionally, 80 young people, including returnees, from communities in Upper River Region (URR) and Central River Region (CRR) were trained on COVID-19 prevention and response to serve as contact tracers of suspected cases of COVID-19
  • Supported the GoTG in the development of a national MHPSS strategic framework and curriculum to strengthen the provision of psychosocial support services for Gambian migrants, returnees, and communities for sustainable and holistic reintegration.
  • The deployment of mobile health teams in communities across all regions in The Gambia, to ensure that migrants and host communities have access to health services and to strengthen health services delivery in migrants’ communities of return. From 2019 to 2021, 1718 (1031 female, 687 male) beneficiaries have been reached with health and psychoeducation, treatment, counseling, and palliation based on identified health needs.
  • Refurbishment of and construction of the only psychiatric facility in the country, Tanka Tanka Facility, increasing its bed capacity from 100 to 150 in March 2022. The initiative is aimed at enhancing the well-being of mental health patients and creating safe and dignified spaces that abide by international safety, security, and sanitary standards
  • Provision of community-based livelihood reintegration support to returnees and communities to address intra-community resentment and promote social inclusion, and cohesion in migrants’ communities of return.  
  • The establishment of migrant peer support groups (MPSGs) in March 2021, in three regions of high return, to support migrant returnees with platforms to continue to share their traumatic stories and to render help to each other. 
  • Increased awareness activities of the perils and dangers of irregular migration within communities through “bantabas”.
  • To promote social cohesion and create platforms for returnees to share their stories and discuss the perils of irregular migration and reintegration, 4,600 community members including returnees were engaged in dialogue and shared learning sessions in five regions through focus group discussions. 
  • Two Youth Centres were refurbished in Bundung and Jarra Soma to provide platforms for returnees and community members to facilitate social cohesion. Photography, videography, and gaming equipment was provided, to the Bundung centre, and has since hosted photography training sessions for community members and a FIFA e-sports tournament attracting returnees and community members
  • To promote inter-community connection and social cohesion, 3,300 community members including returnees engaged through 24 Social events namely regional football tournaments, inter-regional cultural art fairs, and peace concerts. 
  • 510 young men and women in 17 communities engaged through moonlight story-telling sessions in five regions in The Gambia.