Supporting the Reintegration of Returned Migrants in Central America

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is creating sustainable solutions to successfully reintegrate returned migrants into the workforce in the Northern Triangle of Central America. These efforts are part of a regional strategy that is empowered through close collaboration with many local partners, including local governments, civil society organizations, and local community groups.

During a recent visit to Guazapa, one of the municipalities where this reintegration work took place from 2020 to 2021 in partnership with the Alliance of Returned Salvadoreans (ALSARE) and the local mayor’s office, we saw the successful experiences of returned migrants who managed to reestablish roots and develop a long-term plan.

Around 200 returnees were identified by the mayor’s office in Guazapa, included adults, single mothers, and youth. These returnees and their families received psychosocial support and economic assistance for the establishment of small businesses.

PADF team with local partners in Guazapa El Salvador

The PADF team with local partners in Guazapa, El Salvador.

The municipality facilitated cooperation between different local groups and organizations, to ensure that these interventions were effective. One example was providing small seed capital loans for aspiring entrepreneurs, including the promotion of cooperatives.

In Guazapa, the main cause of migration is the lack of employment opportunities. We had older citizens, single mothers, and young people who wanted to start their own business. When they received financial support, we aimed to increase their profit and make their business sustainable.”

He said that providing the start-up funds was key to helping the returnees find jobs and choose to stay in the country instead of trying to migrate again.

Another area of work was the strengthening of the immediate family unit to prevent more family members from migrating. The municipality offered scholarships to keep youth in school. “We focused on families to keep them together, so that children stayed with their parents. Maintaining these ties and close connections helped them create strong roots,” said Yohana Rivas, responsible for community relations in the mayor’s office.

PADF has supported the development of action plans and local strategies for the full reintegration of returned migrants and to raise awareness of migration as a complex phenomenon.

At PADF, we want to continue working and collaborating with our local partners in the Northern Triangle. We are committed to finding new approaches and supporting your efforts to help your community members respond to these new challenges."

Published on March 25, 2022.

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