16 May 2019
Posteado en : Entrevista
Rafael Ríos, coordinator of A-TIPSOM: the fight against people trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria, explains how he has been adapting to the country, what his daily routine is like, and what it is like to work as a FIIAPP expatriate.
How long have you been in Nigeria? How have you adapted to this country?
I arrived on 16 July 2018. When you arrive in a new country, as you can imagine, it is not always easy. I remember hearing about other projects, from other colleagues who had been in or were in other countries, who said “the beginning is always the hardest”. For me this has been a bit simpler, or less complicated, and I’ll tell you why. In this country we already had the embassy staff, and they helped us with everything from the outset, arriving in the country, accreditations, looking for accommodation, the office, etc. We spent almost four months in a small office that they kindly lent us until we were able to move. I wish you could count on this kind of support every time you started a project.
What has been the most difficult aspect to adapt to, and the easiest?
The hardest part was perhaps the second week. During the first week everything is frenetic, you have so many things on your plate… But the second week was like coming back down to Earth. That’s when I really started to realize where I was, and the step that I’d taken. Such a long project with so many important challenges. The easiest thing was perhaps meeting people, dealing with the Nigerians, who I think are happy people who enjoy their country and who, in general, welcome newcomers quite readily.
Is this your first experience outside of Spain?
No, it’s not. Belonging to the National Police gives you opportunities like this, discovering other countries and destinations, doing what you enjoy and what you know best. Previously I’d done different jobs in African countries, on short-term missions in Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, as well as in Europe, in Italy to be precise.
In light of this, is this proving to be very different to your previous missions?
The concept behind this mission is quite different. This one is long-term and involves a permanent deployment in another country plus working as an expert for FIIAPP . It’s something else entirely, and it’s a big professional challenge for me, since what we are trying to achieve with this project is very alluring, and at the same time very ambitious .
What is your work like, your daily routine?
Honestly, I think it’s not that different. Here, because of the hot weather, you get up and start work quite early. We get to the office, have meetings, go out to the different places we need to visit as part of the project. Usually we have lunch at the office and return home in mid-afternoon.
Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain?
As I said, it is a job that requires a lot of contact with one’s counterparts,which means you are often out of the office, and I find that quite interesting.
What is your relationship like with the FIIAPP team in Madrid?
Great! I would say that, in addition to having a great professional relationship, we talk every day, we share ideas, etc. We have even created bonds that are enabling us to achieve better results in the project, of that I am sure.
And with your colleagues in Nigeria?
The same. Several months on, the team in the field has been growing, with Nigerian personnel, which helps us a lot to understand their way of working, what they’re like, their customs.
How would you assess your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate?
It is very positive so far. I think it is helping me to understand how an institution like FIIAPP copes with so many projects and with the scope of the work it does. The training, its structure and its values are enabling me to acquire knowledge. When you belong to an institution like the National Police, sometimes you focus so much on your professional life that you do not realize how work is done elsewhere, so the project is helping to train me both professionally and personally .
Do you have any experiences or anecdotes about your arrival in or adaptation to the country?
Well, I could tell you several, but I’ll just say that I like saying good morning and learning new words in a dialect called Hausa, and in the building where we work I usually see two young people who like to teach me words like that: good morning, let’s go, go ahead… and it makes them laugh when they hear me pronounce them… Inakwana, which means good morning, is part of the day-to-day.
11 June 2015
Posteado en : Opinion
On 15th and 16th June, a meeting is being held in Rabat on migration with these two key issues on the table: asylum and international protection.
In recent months, the urgent need to manage migratory flows, an issue of vital importance for millions of people, has come to the forefront.
It’s evident that, due to the continual crises of a diverse nature, both on the African continent and in the Middle East, we are currently seeing numerous examples of human beings who have left behind all they had in the hope of finding a better and safer life in neighbouring countries, or even in more distant and hitherto unfamiliar lands. The most recent tragedies in the Mediterranean demonstrate the magnitude of the desperation of these people, and the urgency of finding immediate and effective answers to this serious problem.
Thus we are seeing countries in Europe, Africa, and other regions acknowledging the issue of migration as a central point on their policy agendas. Many of them have initiated actions to adapt and develop their migration policies to contribute concrete responses to the complex current situation. Examples of this are Mali, Morocco and Cape Verde, countries that have recently developed their national migration policies to respond to this phenomenon. This issue is also found at the heart of the European debate. The European Commission has presented its European Agenda on Migration, as well as preliminary proposals for a global intervention that improves the management of this problem.
The FIIAPP is not on the sidelines in these debates. Ten intense years of continuous work in this area are testimony to its contribution through the Migration and Development programme, which supports national and international initiatives to facilitate the exchange of best practices and joint cooperation in this area.
Specifically, the FIIAPP participates in the “Rabat Process”, the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, which provides a framework for consultation and coordination aimed at promoting the organisation of legal migration, fighting irregular migration and facilitating synergies between migration and development.
Recently, as a consequence of the Fourth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on “Migration and Development” held in Rome in late 2014, the issues of asylum and international protection have taken on special importance and, therefore, today are priorities for the Rabat Process.
Asylum and international protection, a central issue in the current context.
The multiple crises occurring at the moment are generating massive population movements. The area covered by the Rabat Process (North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and the European Union) are directly affected both as a result of their own internal crises (the Ivorian, Central African, Malian and Libyan crises, and more recently the crisis in North Nigeria) as well as those of neighbouring countries (Eritrea, Somalia, Syria, etc.).
One of the direct consequences of these crises is the considerable uptick in the number of refugees and asylum seekers requesting protection.
It is in this context that the Rabat Process Support Project consortium, in which the FIIAPP participates, is organising on 15th and 16th June in Rabat a meeting on asylum and international protection, an event that will be co-chaired by Spain and Morocco.
This thematic meeting will include the participation of national and international representatives and experts, and one of its goals is to promote spaces for collaboration and consensus on issues of asylum and international protection. It aims to identify lines of action that will make it possible to develop effective protection systems and strengthen regional cooperation in these areas and in the zone covered by the Rabat Process.
Communications Officer of the “Rabat Process” project
More information on the Rabat Process and this upcoming meeting on this website: www.processusderabat.net.