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, the Ukraine. The return of foreign terrorist fighters (RFTFs) to North Macedonia requires government support for the process of rehabilitating and reintegrating these RFTFs and their families. So far, North Macedonia has repatriated around 100 RFTFs and their families, including a recent return of 23 individuals in July 2021. Close to 20 RFTFs and their families are still in camps in northeast Syria and expected to be repatriated. GCERF-supported programmes play an important role in creating an enabling environment for their return and providing direct support to returnees, their families, and to the receiving communities.
Pathways to Change
The programmes in North Macedonia aim to:
- Build capacity and coordination among state and non-state actors in the reintegration, rehabilitation and resocialisation (RRR) process and P/CVE.
- Support returnees and vulnerable families in the receiving community in the reintegration and resocialization process.
- Raise awareness on P/CVE and RRR and reduce stigmatisation of RFTFs and their families.
This will be achieved through activities including to:
- Provide psychosocial support for returnees, their families, and vulnerable families in the receiving communities.
- Develop reintegration plans for RFTFs and their families.
- Organise trainings for national and local institutions, community leaders, teachers, NGOs, media actors, social workers, and psychologists.
- Review existing research and policy and legal frameworks on P/CVE and RRR.
- Develop guidelines and standard operating procedures on P/CVE and RRR.
- Organise community events to raise awareness on P/CVE and RRR.
- Broadcast and monitor media content on P/CVE and RRR.
- Organise workshops and events for parents and students on social cohesion and critical thinking.
- Organise multi-ethnic student camps and youth debates on reconciliation.
- Organise trust building dialogues between institutions and communities.
Decreasing community resistance and minimise stigmatisation towards RFTFs through community events and training of media actors. Encourage reconciliation through multi-ethnic student camps and youth debates.
Facilitating capacity building on rehabilitation, reintegration and resocialisation (RRR) through trainings for national and local institutions, community leaders, teachers, NGOs, media actors, social workers and psychologists to increase local ownership of the process.
Develop guidelines and standard operating procedures on P/CVE and RRR.
Organise trust building dialogues between institutions and communities.
Develop individual plans for professional development for RFTFs and their family members.
Providing trauma-informed rehabilitation support for RFTFs and their families.