This research report considers the experiences and lessons learnt with regard to the integration of returnees into the evolving entity of the Eritrean polity. Central focus is given to 'the PROFERI returnees': a group of 24,220 people who benefited from the donor-funded programme of repatriation and post-return initiatives designed to assist speedy and sustainable self-sufficiency. Their post-return lives are compared to those of the vast majority of returnees, more than 160,000, who repatriated spontaneously up to the end of 1997 and who were not eligible for the PROFERI package of assistance. In addition the perceptions and responses of the local population of the Southwest lowlands of Eritrea, where most returnees have settled, are addressed.
Consideration is given to the ways in which all sectors of the Eritrean population must come to terms not only with the aftermath of bitter conflict but also with the creation and development of a new social order, one in which integration requires dedicated negotiation and continuous reappraisal. Gender aspects are addressed throughout. One finding is that unless the government as part of the same process of development and change promotes gender equity and integration, neither can have much hope of success.
The background and objectives, methods, findings and applications of this research are presented in this report. There are 2 appendices:
1.'Integration in Eritrea: The Case of Returnees'. Chapter included in book proposal by Dr Olufemi Akinola, FAS, Harvard University.
2.Draft of paper proposed for the 42nd annual meeting of the African Studies' Association (November 1999): 'Issues of Gender, Return and the Creation of the Nation'.
Gruber, J. Post-return re-integration in Eritrea. (1999) 33 pp.