Where We Work
The global foreign fighter phenomenon has been the single most obvious manifestation of violence in the Western Balkans with fighters departing to Syria and Iraq, and to a lesser extent Ukraine. Although the region has experienced comparatively few violent episodes on its soil, the return of foreign fighters to Albania has meant that the government requires support for the process of reintegrating and rehabilitating returned foreign terrorist fighters and their families. So far, Albania has received a small group of returnees at the end of 2020 and expects to receive dozens more from camps in North-East Syria during 2021. GCERF plays an important role in creating an enabling environment for their return, through grants to civil society organisations and direct support to returnees, their families, and receiving communities.
Pathways to Change
In Albania, GCERF invests in programmes designed to:
- Synchronise the work of multiple stakeholders in-country committed to preventing violent extremism, and reintegration and rehabilitation.
- Provide trauma-informed rehabilitation support to RFTFs and their families.
- Support a whole-of-community approach to reintegration and preventing and countering violent extremism.
Decreasing community resistance and minimise stigmatisation towards RFTFs, while facilitating the resocialisation of returnees through media actors and community engagement activities.
Facilitating capacity building on rehabilitation, reintegration and resocialisation (RRR) by linking global experts to local practitioners and actors.
Engaging and strengthening the capacity of different community actors – including religious leaders, social workers, teachers and local community structures and institutions – to increase local ownership of the process.
Increasing the capacity of mothers and other caregivers to support returned children.
Enhancing formal and informal educational skills of RFTFs and their families in order to facilitate their integration as a productive member of the community.
Providing trauma-informed rehabilitation support for RFTFs and their families.
Expanding the psychological awareness of returned children to address their emotional disorders through activities such as physical exercises, story-telling, mapping of emotions, and mindfulness exercises.
Sharing stories of resilience and success stories of reintegration.