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Partner week in The Netherlands

Updated: Oct 15, 2018

Exchanging ideas and information about return during the partner week: "We remove as many concerns as possible"

Representatives from four partner organisations outside the Netherlands with whom the Dutch Council for Refugees works on its Return Programme were our guests in September 2016. They attended workshops, held presentations, visited reception centres and talked with our clients. We experienced how we are all very much involved with our clients who are thinking of returning to their own country.

The Dutch Council for Refugees is working closely with its partners on its return programme by email and Skype. Representatives from partner organisations in Nigeria, Northern Iraq, Ethiopia and Armenia were our guests in the Netherlands from 19 to 23 September 2016; the purpose of the week was getting to know each other better and sharing knowledge.

Removing concerns

Our Nigerian partner Roland Nwoha knows that deciding to return to one's own country is a difficult decision. "Migrants are very concerned about what their life will be like when they return. We make every effort to remove as many worries as possible.' Volunteers and consultants from the Dutch Council for Refugees help and support asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal means and who want to return to their own country. And prepare them for a future in the country they come from. Our partners in these countries are invaluable in obtaining good up-to-date information on the country of origin.

Fruitful week

"We learnt a great deal from each other during the partner week," says Annet IJff, our Return project leader. "We all know from experience how difficult things can be: each person is different and situations vary. Returning is not easy; that is the dominant feeling." She looks back on a productive week. "We really managed to bring people closer together. The ties created during this week can never be achieved in a hundred emails. Our partners saw how involved we are – how our clients' interests are our first priority. And the other way round as well: I was particularly impressed by the individual discussions of our partners with the clients from their own country. Critical questions were answered with understanding, but also realistically."

Added value

Hajjaj Mustafa Hussein, our partner from Northern Iraq, also found that it had real added value to meet each other at a fairly early stage of the programme. "It was something I had never experienced before." And the intensive contact will be continued: in the coming two months visits to the partners are planned. Then consultants from the Dutch Council for Refugees will be travelling to Nigeria, Armenia, Northern Iraq and Ethiopia.

More information

Please contact Annet Ijff ( if you have any questions or want further information.

These projects are made possible by funding of the European Union.

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