By Isabel Küppers
In a four-part series, URBANET takes a closer look at specific projects that contribute to making cities more liveable. This third part describes efforts to better integrate and reintegrate migrants, refugees and returning migrants into local life in Morocco.
“I would like to stay in Morocco and discover the world from here,” says Oneisiphore Nembe, who had to flee his home country of Cameroon in 2009. Four years later, he was officially recognised as a refugee and started to occasionally write articles for an online magazine. In 2014, he founded his own online magazine called Afrique Progrès Magazine. A project for the economic integration of refugees in Morocco, run by a local Moroccan organisation and the UN refugee agency, supported him in his endeavour. Today, journalists from Morocco, Togo and Cameroon are working for Nembe’s magazine. Their articles report on economic, social and cultural issues on the African continent. For Nembe, this is just the beginning – the young man from Cameroon dreams of one day producing his own radio and television show. As a next step, he is planning to set up a small production company and to employ Moroccan staff. By doing this, he hopes to reach out to local audiences even more effectively.
Under the motto “Merhaba – Welcome to Morocco,” GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports Morocco in creating a welcoming environment for newly arrived migrants, refugees, and returnees. Stakeholders from ten different Moroccan municipalities familiarise themselves with the issues of integration and reintegration and learn about what migrants need in order to successfully settle in the new country. These activities are part of a project entitled “Strengthening selected municipalities in dealing with migration and flight,” which is financed by a special BMZ initiative for stabilisation and development efforts in North Africa and the Middle East. Through this initiative, BMZ contributes to creating new economic and social opportunities for the people in the region, especially young people. In turn, new jobs enable economic participation, and measures for democracy enable political participation. Neighbouring countries experiencing political turmoil are stabilised with the projects’ efforts.
The GIZ project in Morocco improves the capacities of municipal actors to deal with integration and reintegration. For example, municipal staff is trained in intercultural cooperation, integration efforts, and measures against racism. Moroccan partners receive support to create an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and dialogue. Migrants, refugees and returning Moroccans are integrated in a better way into local life. By accompanying and financing initiatives for integration on a local level, the project helps to prevent potential conflicts. Additionally, it encourages local administrations and actors from civil society to network with other administrative units and organisations that have dealt with integration matters of their own and can share their skills and experiences.