PCI strengthens ties with Denmark for refugee care improvement


By Prosper Okoye

Patriotic Citizen Initiatives (PCI), a local reintegration partner providing support to Nigerian rejected asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking, has strengthened its ties with Denmark through the DRC Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

In a statement recently obtained by the Daily Times, PCI’s collaboration with DRC was established only in March 2023. As of now, DRC has supported the return of two Nigerian returnees from Denmark, and one reintegration plan has been approved by the Danish authorities.

According to PCI Director, Mr. Osita Osemene, the Denmark delegation to Nigeria, which consisted of Lea Kryger Balskilde, a senior advisor and program specialist responsible for DRC’s reintegration programming and cooperation with the ERSO network, and Pernille Rahlff, a return- and reintegration counsellor, the DRC counsellor’s focal point for Nigeria, was aimed at understanding how reintegration assistance is delivered by the local reintegration partner to provide high-quality counseling on return and reintegration.

“The visit to PCI in Lagos and Benin City aims to gather knowledge about the local context for returnees in Nigeria while also sharing information about the Danish asylum system, the conditions for rejected asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in Denmark, and DRC’s role in working with return and reintegration counseling in the Danish system.

As PCI is a new reintegration partner to both the DRC and the ERSO network and has less experience working with European stakeholders and return from Europe, the main focus of the visit is knowledge sharing and capacity building – improving the understanding of how procedures work in both Nigeria and Denmark.

During the visit, DRC and PCI will spend time going through all procedures, the ERSO quality framework, documents, and templates for reintegration assistance, which are a part of working with DRC and the ERSO network as a local reintegration partner.

Further, DRC will visit PCI’s offices in both Lagos and Benin City, as well as the PCI shelter for male returnees in Lagos and a shelter for women returnees in Benin City run by COSUDOW, an organization in PCI’s network to which female returnees in need of shelter can be referred.

Together, DRC and PCI will also visit a range of Nigerian state actors and institutions working within the migration, return, and reintegration field to learn more about the national system in Nigeria, as well as to learn about possibilities and challenges for returnees.

If possible, the delegation will finally meet one of the two returnees returned from Denmark, to hear the person’s initial experience with the return procedure, to see how PCI works directly with returnees, and to support PCI and the returnee with developing a draft reintegration plan.

“The visit will provide the DRC representatives with in-depth knowledge of the reintegration assistance offered in Nigeria and the challenges and opportunities for Nigerian returnees, while also providing PCI with a better understanding of how DRC engages in return and reintegration and what the expectations are toward a local reintegration partner for DRC and the ERSO network.

The information and knowledge collected through the visit will afterward be disseminated to all return and reintegration counselors in DRC, as well as other stakeholders in Denmark, in order to upgrade and qualify the counseling even further.

In September, DRC will give a presentation to the Danish Center Against Human Trafficking and Danish NGOs working with victims of human trafficking, which will include a theme on the return of victims of human trafficking to Nigeria.

“The main objective of the mission is to gather and exchange knowledge on return to Nigeria in order to improve the quality of pre-departure and reintegration counseling.

Furthermore, the objective is to provide capacity building for PCI to ensure that procedures, documents, and templates are well comprehended, and to obtain a good understanding of the Danish asylum system and DRC’s role in return and reintegration.

“The main objective will be reached by a better understanding of the Reintegration Assistance Offered by PCI; Exchange on the process of delivering reintegration assistance in Nigeria, both pre and post-return from Denmark; Exchange good practices in return and reintegration counseling to improve the reintegration process; Gain insights into PCI’s work, other programs, and networks to improve knowledge about PCI and how they may support returnees; Visit local offices of PCI in Lagos and Benin City; Visit relevant NGO actors from PCI’s network within the field of return and migration to understand potential referral opportunities; Capacity Building – Ensure Procedures, Documents, and Templates Are Well-Comprehended and That a Good Understanding of the Danish Asylum System and DRC’s Role in Return and Reintegration Is Obtained.

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“Others are to provide a presentation of DRC globally and of the DRC Asylum Unit.
Present actors and roles within the Danish return and reintegration system, with the main focus on DRC’s role and how the DRC counseling team works with return and reintegration of rejected asylum seekers.

Share knowledge about the Danish asylum system and its procedures, the situation of rejected asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking in Denmark, as well as possibilities and limits with the reintegration support and process.

Go through all documents and templates supporting the reintegration process and cooperation between DRC and PCI.

“Better Understanding of the Nigerian Context: Visit local organizations/state institutions in Lagos and Benin City, such as NAPTIP, Migrant Resource Center, Nigeria Immigration Service, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, and Edo State taskforce against human trafficking, all working within the field of migration and/or return.”

The statement added that this mission aimed to strengthen the partnership between PCI and Denmark for improved refugee care.

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