Where We Work
Returnees from conflicts abroad also known as Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (RFTFs) are the predominant manifestation of violent extremism in the Western Balkans. Countries in the Western Balkans have had some of the highest number of returnees per capita in the world. Individuals who travelled, and in some cases fought in Syria and Iraq had various motives, usually a mix of personal drivers and justifying ideological objectives. Lack of employment, poverty, and low levels of education further contribute to vulnerability to violent extremism in the Western Balkans.
In Albania five women and 14 children returned in cooperation with the Lebanese General Directorate of General Security. Returnees were first received at the Emergency Reception Centre in Durres coordinated by the CVE Coordination Centre and some have now moved back to their home communities.
Our grant portfolio aims to provide reintegration, rehabilitation, and resocialisation (RRR) support to returnees and their families, while working to strengthen the capacity of frontline workers and nurture an enabling environment for RRR throughout the country.
Training professionals for better rehabilitation and reintegration
It is our role to ensure that returnees from conflicts abroad are well accepted in the community and access services that they need.
– A frontline worker
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.