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“We answer any questions that clients may have”

CSAEM advisor Benedite Regina Coly (right) in conversation.

“We answer any questions that clients may have”

Ms Coly, what kind of people do you advise in the centre?

In the Senegalese-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (CSEAM) we take care of returnees, as well as the local population. Our advice is freely available to everyone. Many people come to us because they’re looking for a job, or they want to start a business. There's no need to make an appointment – anyone who is interested can simply visit us here in the centre from Monday to Friday. We also provide advice over the phone.

What is particularly important?

The first encounter is a decisive factor in our success. It’s therefore important for us to welcome everyone in a friendly way. Our approach is to offer a smiling face, a helping hand, an open ear and a respectful attitude. This creates trust and openness. Many people are then able to open up and tell us about their personal experiences. But if someone is sceptical and doesn't want to talk in detail about their problem, then I do my best to reassure them and to build trust. We treat all information as strictly confidential.

What else does your work involve?

One of my tasks as an advisor is to inform Senegalese citizens about the alternatives to migration abroad. The most important question I have to answer is how they can manage to stay in Senegal and earn their living here. We offer training courses covering different professional fields. These include IT, digital marketing, graphic design, confectionery, administration, and financial management. Visitors can use the centre to search online for job offers, and to prepare in the right way for their job interviews.

What’s the procedure behind your advice?

After registering on site or via a brief phone call, those seeking advice are put on a waiting list. Shortly afterwards, I’ll invite the person to come to the centre for an initial discussion. We’ll use that to talk about their needs and wishes. All open questions are clarified. Some of them have no professional qualifications or work experience. For others, their circumstances are very complicated and they need immediate psychosocial support. We always manage to sort things out in the end, and to provide the best possible support.

Help with finding a job using the CSAEM computers.

What is special about the CSEAM team?

The staff at the centre have lots of experience and undergo regular continuing professional development. We have the specialist knowledge to understand and deal with our clients’ social or psychological challenges.

How do you know when your work has been successful?

After a consultation, I often sense that my clients feel comforted, stronger and more positive. Everyone who comes to us knows that the centre will help them to find a job or an apprenticeship in Senegal, or to start their own business. People are happy to be given our information and recommendations.