70 Attend Vocational Training In West Darfur

The vocational training in vehicle maintenance came in handy for migrant returnee Khalid Madri.

"I was very happy when I heard about the training. I had previous experience in car maintenance, but I still needed to improve my skills,” says the 35-year-old. “The training is very helpful for me and I can't wait until it resumes after Eid.”

Khalid is now looking to set himself up as a motor mechanic, after attending the training on 15 March in the city of El Geniena, West Darfur State.

A total of 70 youth are participating in 3-month training, a collaboration between El Geneina Technical School (GTS) and IOM Sudan through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative).

Among the participants, 50 were family members of migrant returnees while the rest were from migrant host communities.

The training aims to support participants with skills, knowledge and a toolkit to use in starting their own businesses, as they work towards achieving financial independence. It covers a range of areas, including welding, perfume-making and leather products.

Although the training was put on hold due to the Holy Month of Ramadan, this did not stop Khalid from continuing to sharpen his skills. “I have been using the time during the break to go to my friend’s car workshop and help him in his work. I’m not the best in the workshop, but I am able to fix some car issues.”

Khalid adds: “After completing the training, I wish to run my own workshop and be able to transfer some of the skills I learned to others within my community. Those who are willing to learn and work will be welcome in my workshop.”

Zahra Husain, another workshop participant, had her first experience working with leather. "I expected that making products will be hard, yet with the tools that were provided during the training and with the support of the trainers, it was easy to craft products. I made slippers and a purse," she said. "I am eager to discover how to craft more in the second part of the training."

Zahra is hoping to use her newly-acquired skills to start her own small business. “I haven’t yet decided which products I will be focusing on. However, after we finish, I will surely make purses and other products and will sell them in the neighborhood, with the aim of opening a small business."

According to Reem Eldwwari, National Programme Officer of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative: “Acquiring vocational skills and providing opportunities for the relatives of returnees and host community members is an important part of supporting economic reintegration in the community and is a key aspect to the sustainable return process.”

She said collaboration and cooperation among participants stands to bolster social relationships among individuals and their families.

Reem explained further: “The aim is to facilitate the returnees’ reintegration and for them to be well-perceived in their communities in addition to generating an independent sustainable income for their families while also benefitting the very same communities.”

About the  EU-IOM Joint Initiative

Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, the EU and IOM around the goal of ensuring  migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.