On 13 November 2018, in Mombasa County, Her Excellency, German Ambassador Annett Günther and Ms. Britt Prechel, Second Secretary, from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kenya visited beneficiaries of the IOM Programme for Human Security and Stabilization (PHSS). The German delegation first visited the small business operators (SBO) who provided vocational training and mentoring for unemployed youth in their communities, including the direct PHSS beneficiaries. Moses, an SBO who runs a photography business in Mombasa, has been training one of the PHSS beneficiaries for the last 1.5 years. Moses updated Ambassador Günther with, “I now have enough money to rent my own office space with 3 other photographers. We share the cost and we also rent the space and our equipment to other freelance photographers. From the programme, I have received the latest professional camera, which is rare to find in Mombasa. I am motivated to train more youth if they have similar passion for photography.”
One returnee also shared his experience with the German Delegation. And that it was very difficult for him to come out and surrender initially. In 2016, he surrendered and received Amnesty from the Kenyan Government, followed by a reinsertion kit and reintegration support from the PHSS. He added, “I was a bad guy but I have changed. I have more colleagues who are ready to surrender. I also have unemployed youth who might decide to join an (extremist) group. They need support”. Ambassador Günther assured him with, “I believe you can talk to your members how happy you are with the programme which is supported by the Federal Republic of Germany. The Ambassador also asked, “Do you like what you do now?” The returnees responded with: “I like what I do and I can talk to them about it with confidence.”
Many returnees who benefited from the PHSS also expressed that they have started contributing to their respective communities by recruiting unemployed youth in their businesses. The Federal Republic of Germany has been supporting the PHSS since 2015, and their generous support has directly assisted nearly 250 individuals to date. The positive impact of the German contribution has been witnessed by Ambassador Günther with this field visit. Jonah, owner of the carpentry shop, has been partnering with the PHSS as a Small Business Operator (SBO) to vocationally train youth since 2015. “I am sometimes strict with my trainees so that they also learn to be disciplined,” Jonah informed Ambassador Günther. Jonah has not only been teaching technical carpentry skills but also life skills to vulnerable and at-risk youth. IOM, in line with its Kenya UNDAF 2018-2022 commitments, strives to continue supporting the effort of the Kenyan Government in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism in the Coastal Region, with support from Member States and other key stakeholders.