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Trust can also be established online

Ernestina Adu is one of four advisors at the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GGC) in Accra. She gave an interview to tell us about her work and the impact that the corona pandemic has had on it.

Ms Adu, what does the GGC actually do?
The centre provides information on the labour market in Ghana and helps returning migrants with social and economic reintegration. We want to give the necessary individual support to those who have lived abroad for a while and who are now working in Ghana again or would like to start a business. We also advise young people about training opportunities in Ghana.

How has the corona pandemic altered what you do?
The crisis has severely impacted our work. Over 20 people a day would normally visit the centre to seek advice. The corona pandemic means we've been concentrating on providing advice online since mid March – the centre is temporarily closed. All four advisors are working from home. We provide advice by phone, but also use platforms like Skype and other ways of reaching people.

How many people are you currently advising per day?
Every day I speak to between seven and ten people who are contacting us for the first time. This is on top of the people we've been assisting for a while. I hold a total of around 20 consultations a day. The centre provides us with sufficient data volumes to provide a technically proficient online advice service.

Your work is based on a close and trusting relationship. Is it more difficult to establish this trust if you aren't meeting people in person?
Trust is indeed important. People open up and feel free to speak about their problems once trust has been established. Fortunately, most advice seekers we speak to online show us that necessary trust.

How do you keep in touch with your network partners during the pandemic?
At first this was quite difficult: we normally offer careers advice as well as entrepreneurial training at a university once a month. We had to cancel these events due to the pandemic. We also organise so-called hand-holding sessions for returnees to bring them together. They can use these meetings to share their experiences and provide mutual encouragement. We also had to put this project on hold for the time being. But then again, we have launched a virtual programme and we now offer a live exchange via Facebook every Wednesday. We have also planned the first virtual career and job fair for July and soon want to offer our entrepreneurial training programmes online.

As of: 07/2020

The corona pandemic has severely impacted our work. Now we're concentrating on providing advice online.
Ernestina Adu

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