IOM REGIONAL OFFICE FOR WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA.
In Burkina Faso, Returnees Build Their Lives…And Homes
For Prospère, the future is full of promise. After returning to Burkina Faso in 2017, he received training in masonry — and is about to receive a professional tool kit so he can put his new skills to work.
Three years ago, Prospère was like many other young people in Manga, in Burkina Faso’s Centre-South region. Chronically under-employed, Prospère left his country seeking a better life in Algeria in 2015.
“I was already working as a mason in Burkina, but I could not find work projects. Then, I decided to go to Algeria to work and make money,”
But not everything turned out as he had hoped.
“In Algeria, I worked in some places without being paid. Sometimes they [employers] refused to pay on a pretext that the work carried out was not good, even if the supervisors confirmed that the work was properly done,” Prospère explained.
One morning, Prospère authorities demanded to see his identity documents. He was told he had to leave Algeria. Stranded and desperate in Niger, he contacted IOM. Shortly afterwards, he arrived in Burkina Faso with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrants Protection and Reintegration.
Back in Manga, Prospère shares his experience in Algeria. “There were days when I did not eat. Even a loaf of bread was hard to find,” he recalled. “I believe that here, in Burkina Faso, we young people can succeed. And at least when things do not go well, you have a brother next door to help you. You cannot starve.”
Today, he is fully committed to his profession. Thanks to the training offered by the Initiative, he has been able to improve his knowledge in several aspects of buildings, a great tool to earn a living.
“Today, there are people offering me work. So, I know that I will succeed, thanks to God, with hard work and perseverance,” he concluded.
This motivation has been rewarded. Prospère and the 40 other trained returnees participated in the construction of the “Cité du 11 décembre 2018” condominium project in Manga.
“After this project, I know that I will be able to find new projects more easily,” he says. More stable financially, he is especially happy to participate in the development of his region.
This masonry training undertaken by Prospère and other returning migrants was provided by the Cercle d’Orientation et de Formation Emergency Consult (COFEC) under the Joint Initiative. Today more than 80% of certified learners have already found jobs.