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"We speak the language of truth"

Abdourahmane Idaly Kamara is talking on the phone.

"We speak the language of truth"

Abdourahmane Idaly Kamara, director of the German-Senegalese Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (CSAEM) in Dakar, on the work done by the centre and what motivates him personally.

How do you and your team support people seeking advice?
The centre is open to everyone. We welcome everyone, including locals, internally displaced people and returning migrants. The first step is to identify people's needs. We exchange information on the phone, via social media or in personal conversations at the centre. This way we learn more about the people and can refer them to a suitable advisor from the team. Based on our experience, we can also identify whether someone needs psychosocial support. Many returnees suffer from trauma and have difficulties reintegrating. In these cases, we refer them to the "House of Hope", for example.

What do local people need who are looking for new perspectives?
Most locals need support to start a business or find paid work. We have partner organisations that we rely on for this. The labour market in Senegal is difficult. There is a better chance of success if you start your own business. Our main partner, the government agency for youth employment (ANPEJ), runs a training facility for budding entrepreneurs. Applicants can submit their project there. If the business idea is deemed worthy of support, they receive customised training to learn the necessary skills for the respective field of work.

What opportunities do you currently see in Senegal?
There are a lot of opportunities here. For example, there are certain niches in each region of the country that you should identify. There are good opportunities in agriculture, forestry and livestock. In Saint-Louis, for example, the ecosystem is well suited to rice cultivation thanks to the river and the valleys in the region. The specificities of each region determine which activities can be practised there.

Do you also offer your services locally in remote areas?
Yes. For example, we offer psychological support or training to IDPs in the Casamance region in the south of the country. This helps them learn new skills and integrate more easily. If people need materials or money, we talk with our partners such as ANPEJ or civil society organisations about how to arrange the appropriate support.

What motivates you in your work?
My main motivation is to show the opportunities in Senegal. Above all, I want people who are thinking about returning to realise that there are many good reasons to do so. Our work is to give and disseminate accurate information about returning and restarting. Many potential returnees often don’t even know that they can be successful by starting their own business in their country of origin. One of our biggest challenges is not to disappoint people. We don’t make false promises, we speak a language of truth. It is a sign of trust between the advisory team and the people being advised.

Abdourahmane Idaly Kamara is doing some research on the internet.

To what extent did the corona pandemic force you to change your advisory services and cooperation with partner organisations?
The pandemic is a great challenge for all of us. The requests have increased during this time. Although the centre was closed in phases due to the restrictions, services were maintained as usual. We have switched to teleconferencing and online training. The experience with online meetings has been good. The big challenge is to support the people who are particularly affected by the pandemic. Business people, migrants, locals – all those who have already received offers from the centre but now have to cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

As of: 08/2021

My main motivation is to show the opportunities available in Senegal.
Abdourahmane Idaly Kamara

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