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Networking Events: “Option Voluntary Return“

In 2018, over the course of a joint event series entitled “Option Voluntary Return: Return and Reintegration Programs in Germany” (OFR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implemented 14 regional networking events.

The networking events were organized on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and conducted in cooperation with regional partners, including local authorities, municipalities, immigration authorities as well as civil stakeholders.

The project aimed at contributing to the development of a coherent approach to all initiatives in the field of assisted voluntary return and reintegration at the German federal level by highlighting the synergies between the individual projects and programs of IOM, BAMF and GIZ. The events targeted a broader expert public consisting of return counsellors, policy and administrative practitioners, volunteers as well as local and national media representatives. Moreover, the event series provided a platform for participants to engage in networking activities to further strengthen the German counseling structure.

In this context, the networking events centered on three core messages that emphasize the commonalities between IOM, BAMF and GIZ in the field of assisted voluntary return and reintegration:

  • to support migrants in their return in dignity
  • to enable migrants to take an informed decision while being aware of all options available to them
  • to support migrants throughout the entire return and reintegration process reaching from counseling services provided in Germany to their reintegration in the respective country of origin

In total, 720 state and civil actors participated in the following 14 networking events:

1.       Berlin (March 5) in cooperation with Social Impact Lab gGmbH

2.       Nuremberg (March 12) in cooperation with AWO Kreisverband Nürnberg e.V.

3.       Munich (March 19) in cooperation with Coming Home München and Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales

4.       Bonn (April 23) in cooperation with Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.

5.       Frankfurt a. M. (May 9) in cooperation with Frankfurter Verein für Soziale Heimstätten e.V.

6.       Leipzig (June 7) in cooperation with Social Impact Lab gGmbH

7.       Dusseldorf (June 28) in cooperation with Caritasverband Düsseldorf e.V.

8.       Mannheim (July 10) in cooperation with Caritasverband Mannheim e.V.

9.       Stuttgart (July 18) in cooperation with Ingenieurkammer Baden-Württemberg

10.     Hannover (September 17)

11.     Erfurt (September 24) in cooperation with Caritasverband Bistum Erfurt e.V.

12.     Bielefeld (October 4)

13.     Saarbrucken (October 15)

14.     Bremen (November 7) in cooperation with AWO Bremen

Due to the demonstrated interest in OFR and the continuous need to strengthen the structures surrounding return and reintegration efforts in Germany, the event series is going to enter the next project phase in 2019 based on an adapted concept and centered on various thematic issues.


Contact person at the International Organization for Migration:

Niklas Luksch

Tel.: + 49 30 278 778 49