From Freising to Kathmandu: How experts are exporting knowledge back home

International Migrants Day: The case of architect Apekshya Dhungel shows how migration is contributing to sustainable development.

Apekshya Dhungel was in Freising preparing her Master’s thesis in landscape design just as severe earthquakes in her home country of Nepal caused the deaths of 8,800 people and destroyed large parts of the country’s infrastructure. The 30-year-old decided to return to Nepal: ‘At such a difficult time I wanted to do something for the people and use my knowledge to help with reconstruction.’ For a country in desperate need of skilled professionals, her decision is a stroke of good fortune.

The Centre for international Migration and Development (CIM) helped Apekshya Dhungel with her return from Freising to Kathmandu. The landscape architect with a Master’s degree from Germany is one of 15,000 experts since 1980 to have already received support with returning to their country of origin from CIM. The centre is jointly run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency.

One of CIM’s objectives is to help managers and experts to use their expertise and contacts in Germany to initiate change in their countries of origin. In this way, migration contributes to sustainable development around the world – and at the same time builds bridges between Germany and its partner countries.

On behalf of the German Government, CIM supports professionals throughout the entire process of returning to their country of origin – from advice on financial grants to success with job seeking. GIZ’s own development expertise and global network in over 120 countries offer additional benefits for returning experts, providing them for example with customised placements with potential employers. At the same time, employers in developing countries and emerging economies are put in touch with highly qualified managers and experts who are in short supply on the local labour market.

People like Apekshya Dhungel. Her planning now focuses principally on the public spaces in Kathmandu, including around temples: ‘These are sites where people come to congregate and spend time together. They take on special significance at times of natural disaster. They provide protection and a secure supply of food, drinking water and medicines.’