German Govt. Supports IOM’s efforts to reintegrate Chadian Migrants from Libya
IOM’s efforts to provide social reintegration assistance to Chadians who have returned empty-handed from Libya has received new backing from the German Government.
The Euro 1 million German funding will support returnees and host communities in areas with high levels of returnees by providing small scale grants that will directly benefit over 50 vulnerable communities and up to 75,000 beneficiaries.
North and West Chad, which is suffering from prolonged drought, food insecurity and extreme poverty, experienced high levels of return from Libya following the overthrow of Gaddafi regime.
"The sudden return from Libya of some 90,000 Chadian migrant workers to their home communities and the resulting loss of remittances is putting additional strain on their families and home communities," says Qasim Sufi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Chad.
Throughout the one year project, IOM will provide a large scale outreach campaign to help communities overcome social friction between the returnees and their communities of origin, and will support community-driven socio-economic infrastructure projects to
be implemented for the benefit of entire communities.
A recent IOM assessment funded by the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO) found that most Chadians who had returned from Libya were in urgent need of reintegration support in their communities.
It noted that returnees have often become estranged to the traditional ways of life in a rural Chadian community after having lived and worked in Libya for years.
The study also found that social tensions in communities of high returns, between returnees and host communities, are increasing. Returnees, who often experienced tremendous trauma before leaving Libya, are faced with a variety of challenges when returning
home, including housing shortages, unemployment, no access to medical infrastructure, and even language barriers.
These challenges are being multiplied by the fact that many are returning to their families and communities empty-handed. A majority of returnees said that they were unable to meet their basic needs for food, housing, health and education.
Many of Chadian returnees had lived in Libya for many years and had little or no connection to their places of origin. Children and adults born in Libya were unable to communicate in French or in the Chadian dialect of Arabic, making it difficult for them to
attend schools or socially integrate.
Since their return, only a small number of them have found steady jobs. Most have had to resort to petty trade such as selling cigarettes and sweet tea. In some rural areas, returnees have set up parallel markets known as ‘Libya Markets,’ where they sell the
few goods they managed to bring back to feed their families. This often results in conflict with market traders from host communities.
The socio-economic reintegration project is aiming at bridging the gaps between the returnees and the home communities by providing a platform for social interaction. Through increased dialogue and the successful implementation of community-chosen socio-economic
infrastructure projects, communities will get the opportunity to work together, thereby reducing social tension and potential conflicts.