For African migrants facing challenges abroad and are unwilling to remain in the host country, if such people voluntarily desire to return, doors of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are opened to get assistance for such dreams to be fulfilled with ease in order to reunite with families and loved ones through Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR).
At the African Migration Summit held in Accra, Ghana between 25-26,2021 powered by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) in partnership with the Nekotech Center of Excellence, Ghana, Kojo Wilmot, an IOM Reintegration Officer explained details in a presentation titled Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana.
The overall aim of the AVRR is to protect the security, dignity and rights of migrants along the migratory route to Europe and to improve the reintegration of returnees through innovative approaches, Kojo said.
“AVRR relates to the administrative, logistical and financial support, including reintegration assistance, provided to migrants unable or unwilling to remain in the host/transit country, who volunteer to return to their countries of origin
AVRR related activities have been implemented by IOM over the past 40 years 150‐200 AVRR projects active each year in 92 host countries to over 150 countries of origin.”
The pre-departure and reintegration assistant involves counselling and return reintegration information; administrative assistance which entails processing of documents and purchase of flight tickets on the bills of IOM.
Kojo added that: The post arrival plans capture reception and inland transport; referral services, reintegration assistance, monitoring and evaluation.
On target for return and reintegration, so far 1,847 returns had been recorded in Ghana since the beginning of the project until 17 February 2021. The breakdown are 1,715 men, 132 women. In 2020 IOM organized returns for 537 (502 men, 35 women) 3 charter flights from Libya (399‐ 367 men, 32 women) 20 August 2020 (118 migrants ‐ 107 men, 11 women) ‐ 24 November 2020 (157 migrants ‐ 144 men, 13 women) ‐ 30 November 2020 (124 migrants ‐ 116 men, 8 women)
Assistance is provided at the airport in cooperation with all agencies ‐ IOM provided cash assistance for immediate needs, food and water and buses to major transportation hubs in Accra for migrants to continue their journeys to their final destination.
In terms of demographics, a total of 115 (97 males, 18 females) with medical needs 1,760 returnees have been provided psychosocial counselling 463 migrants (414 men, 49 women) have been identified as vulnerable (chronic medical conditions, single family heads, minors and aged). These cases were provided with medical support, accommodation and school fees.
Still on the AVRR, the IOM Ghana reintegration support captures 563 (496 men, 67 women) returnees that have completed their reintegration support. ‐ A total of 1,759 (1,631 men, 128 women) returnees have received reintegration counselling with three community projects completed in the area of Agricultural vocational training and auto mechanic and heavy machine operation have been completed.
Also, the Ghana IOM has conducted two media trainings for 58 journalists on effective awareness raising and communication on irregular migration.