Examining the impact of UNIDO’s training on the economic reintegration of repatriated refugees in Liberia
Naohiko Omata, Noriko Takahashi
Drawing upon research in Liberia, this paper explores the impact of UNIDO’s vocational training programmes on promoting the economic integration of returnees. Between 2013 and 2014, UNIDO provided two training programmes in Liberia to help facilitate the process of reintegration of repatriates from neighbouring countries. The research team conducted a study with 74 beneficiaries of these programmes using survey questionnaires and interviews. The study presents mixed findings about the impact of UNIDO’s programmes on these returnees. Even after completion of the training programmes, the majority of trainees remained jobless in an economy damaged by the devastating effects of the Ebola crisis, although most recognized the value of the vocational training provided by UNIDO. Given the multi-faceted nature of economic integration, the provision of training programmes alone may be limited in enabling meaningful integration of returnees into fragile post-crisis environments. The research also produced some concrete recommendations to assist UNIDO in its efforts to develop more effective programmes for the reintegration of returnees. Additional studies are required to better understand the conditions under which vocational training becomes most relevant to repatriating refugees who need to construct their economic foundation in a post-conflict country.