Over 350 participants attended the first job fair for returned migrants in Cote d'Ivoire | Photo: IOM/Mohamed Diabate
Over 350 participants attended the first job fair for returned migrants in Cote d'Ivoire | Photo: IOM/Mohamed Diabate

Last week the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted a job and training fair for returned migrants in Cote d'Ivoire to help them reintegrate and find work in their home country.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has assisted over 5,250 stranded Ivorians to voluntarily return to Cote d'Ivoire over the past three years, from countries such as Libya, Niger, and Morocco. 

The IOM said that despite the logistical difficulties, the journey home turned out to be the easy part, as the returned migrants face the more difficult challenge of reintegrating into their former communities. They can face rejection, the stigma of unemployment and the shame of returning empty-handed. To mitigate these challenges, the IOM hosted a job and training fair organized for returned migrants in Cote d'Ivoire attened by about 350 young men and women.

Job fair helps migrants not feel abandoned

The IOM said more than 2,000 returning migrants had received reintegration assistance with training and income-generating activities through initiatives supported by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The job fair targeted Ivorians who had returned home between 2017 and 2019 under the IOM's Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme as part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

"Thanks to this fair, I realized that I had not been abandoned," said Moussa, one of the young returned migrants who visited the fair. "I have chosen three reintegration projects that will facilitate my reintegration into society. I will do my best to have a better future in Cote d'Ivoire instead of risking my life in the Mediterranean or in the desert. If ever I must go to Europe, I will use the legal channels, and I will go to visit and return to my country," he said. 

Job opportunities in own country 

During the three-day job fair, 22 IOM partners presented participants with a wide range of available job opportunities covering various fields including construction, poultry and transport. The posts are being offered across Cote d'Ivoire, such as in the capital Abidjan as well as in Bouaké, Daloa, Man, Gagnoa, San-Pédro and Korhogo. 

"We are happy to participate in this fair which gives these returned migrants a second chance for reintegration in their country of origin," said Hyppolite Kakou, from the National Agency for Vocational Training (AGEFOP), an IOM partner. 

"It was an opportunity for us to showcase all our activities so they can define their own future". 

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