Returning experts: Job placement in their home country

Rekik Bekele Green Scene Energy Aethiopien
Rekik Bekele (Center) and Principal Tamene explains the students of the Abu Serkama Elementary School in the Oromia region of Ethiopia how the new solar lighting works. © Rekik Bekele

Rekik Bekele needs assistance: Her business brings solar electricity to the more remote regions of Ethiopia. And this requires well-trained staff. She has found help in her search for employees in Germany. The CIM Returning Experts Programme places experts who were trained in Germany and who want to make a contribution in their home countries.

Rekik Bekele, CEO of Green Scene Energy PLC in Addis Ababa is looking for a Business Development Manager (BDM) for her company. What is unusual about this: The job is advertised in Germany, on the job portal of the Centre for international Migration and Development (CIM). Rekik explains: “We wanted to find our BDM via CIM mainly to achieve our goals. We need a highly organised team that can think differently and deliver specific tasks efficiently within specific periods of time. Germans are known for being organised and quite direct – we would love to learn these qualities from the expert.”

CIM can help here. The competence centre for international labour mobility places experts and emerging experts from developing and transitioning countries who were trained in Germany with employers in their country of origin. CIM’s goal is to support local structures that can make a contribution to the country’s sustainable development.

And this is just what Rekik Bekele and her company Green Scene Energy need. Because Rekik, an engineer and expert on renewable energy, has a mission in Ethiopia: She wants to create access to clean, affordable energy for her country’s poorest communities by providing simple solar construction kits. Rekik Bekele is an enthusiastic entrepreneur and a passionate advocate of renewable energy:  “My goal is to establish thriving, self-sustaining markets which provide these solar lighting solutions to all off-grid areas of Ethiopia, and possibly to other parts of East Africa too. It is an ambitious goal but it is certainly possible.”

Making the return home a success

Albania is another country that benefits from it returning experts. Olinga Rafat, CIM-coordinator in Tirana, talks about Stela Suloti, a social scientist who found her profession in her home country with the help of CIM.

Stela comes from Tirana, the capital of Albania. She studied in Marburg in Germany. Currently, she works for the Center for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), a local think tank in Tirana that conducts studies with the aim of providing consultant services for the political sector and contributing to the shaping of public opinion. “An independent research institute like this is very rare in Albania. CESS is an important information centre for issues of social sciences”, Olinga Rafat explains. “We are very glad to have found Ms Suloti for CESS.”

Assistance for returning experts

But job placement is only the beginning. CIM, which is jointly run by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Employment Agency, provides a wide range of assistance for returning experts. This includes various financial aids, from a possible subsidy to the salary to the payment of travel and re-location expenses.

But that’s not all. CIM also offers personal support on the ground, helps with career planning and assists with creating a network in the experts’ home countries. What makes the programme unique is that the returnees are mentored in their home countries by people who have been through exactly the same experiences.

Like Mónica Gutiérrez in Colombia, for example. The CIM-coordinator for Colombia can empathise with the situation of returning experts very well: “I am very committed to the returnees. After all, I myself only returned to Colombia a few years ago.” And so she knows that money is important, but it isn’t everything: “I am here to advise the returnees, to guide them and to help them to create networks with others in a similar situation. That is what makes our programme so special.”

Programme Migration for Development - CIM

Programme Migration for Development - CIM
Programme Migration for Development - CIM ©

CIM – Migration for Development: Returnees report why they have returned to their homeland

Passing on positive experiences

The CIM Returning Experts Programme also helped Fitim Uka to fulfil his dearest wish: “From the moment I arrived in Germany for the first time, I knew that I would come back to Kosovo one day. The main motive was my desire to contribute to the development of my country and my family.” Fitim had come to Germany to complete a Master’s degree in psychology at Munich’s renowned Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. He ended up extending his stay a little to get a PhD at the University of Freiburg.

His return to Kosovo was not quite as smooth as he had hoped. His job at a private academy for social professions in Pristina did not pay very well. Life was difficult. And there were job offers from Germany: “However, it was the GIZ and CIM Programme for Migration and Development that laid all doubts that I had about staying in Kosovo to rest. Their financial support in the beginning was not all that high, but it was enough to make me stay in Kosovo.” And the training and consultancy that CIM provided also contributed to his professional development.

Today, Fitim works at the University of Pristina, the country’s oldest and largest university. He truly enjoys passing on the knowledge that he gained in Germany to his students. “This is the most beautiful part of my work.” He would like to communicate a new way of scientific thinking and working to his students. And he has reason to be proud of his success: “My students publish in international journals and present their work at various conferences. This shows me my contribution to the system of education in Kosovo.” And what is best: “My students are studying for their Master’s degree all over the world – in Germany, in Ireland, in the Netherlands. I can really say that I am fulfilling a dream in this way. However, I will consider it as a great success only when they come back to bring their knowledge and expertise to the new generations in Kosovo. I am pretty sure they will not disappoint me.”

Who can join the programme?

People like Fitim and Stela can get support if they come from one of the programme’s 23 partner countries, studied or got their training in Germany and would like return to their home country (or have already recently returned).

If you don’t find what you are looking for on the CIM Job Market, you can get pro-active and look for a job in your home country by yourself. CIM will assist you by providing advice and financial support.

People who want to take their fate into their own hands and start a business can also find support. CIM will assist these emerging entrepreneurs with help and advice from the first business idea to the foundation of the company. Currently, new businesses are receiving this support in Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco and Tunisia.

Driving sustainable development

The overreaching goal is to help people who were trained in Germany to help their home countries, and this means that jobs or businesses from all sectors are supported, whether it is education, agriculture or the IT-industry.

One condition is that these jobs contribute to their country’s sustainable development – like the job that is being created at Green Scene Energy in Ethiopia. Rekik Bekele is confident that the returning expert will lend sustainable assistance: “We hope that the expert will make a difference in our small company.”

Are you considering a return to your home country and would you be interested in a job that would let you make a difference there? In our job exchange on the Alumniportal, you can find job vacancies with a Germany-connection in many countries world-wide – and the postings of CIM are presented there, too!

CIM jobs in our job exchange

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  • Fredrick Mulei


    Great and helpful stories

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