BANJUL,15 JULY 2022: The Director of Diaspora, and Migration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Mr. Musa Camara on Tuesday 11th July 2022, received in his office Mr. Gotz Von Roell and Mr. Yaya Sonko, Project Managers of the “New Placement International” Project.
The duo visited The Gambia to introduce a new project they have conceived and to also use the opportunity to inform government of such an initiative that is geared towards smooth and sustainable transitioning and reintegration of Gambian migrants from Germany who wish to return voluntarily.
Mr. Gotz Von Roell is a German citizen who has worked on many projects supporting migrants. Mr. Yaya Sonko, a Gambian residing in Germany, is currently the Speaker of the West African Migrants in Germany and doubles as a member of the Refugee Council of the State of Baden Württemberg in Germany. Mr. Sonko’s experience in representing African migrants in Germany has exposed him to many incidents where some Gambians facing challenges in terms of health, family and other reasons propel them to opt for a voluntary return but due to the amount of the reintegration package given by IOM, they find it difficult to convince themselves to return.
According to Mr Yaya Sonko, the project is starting as a one-year pilot program and its goal is to give extra financial support to fellow Gambians who would decide to come home voluntarily. The project would also support their own perspective and goals of reintegration in The Gambia. This project is endorsed and financially supported by Baden-Württemberg Government. The unique selling point is counselling “peer-to-peer “.
Director Musa Camara also highlighted the government’s role in engaging German authorities, considering the number of irregular migrants whose asylum applications were rejected that the government has proposed to the German authorities to enroll them into apprenticeship programs for couple of years through which they can acquire different skills. Such that, at the end of the program, they may return to The Gambia with some incentive/capital to run their own projects/businesses that will be sustainable and a positive-sum gain for both sides. He said the German side didn’t agree to the proposal but this project seems to strike a balance in that endeavour. Hence, he added, the project is welcomed and the government will support such initiatives in the interest of our citizens.