This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Template for the Conduct of Assisted Voluntary Mass Repatriations of Distressed OFWs from the Middle East
Department of Foreign Affairs
The Template for the Conduct of Assisted Voluntary Mass Repatriations of Distressed OFWs from the Middle East is the evolving document of the process observed in bringing home, in big numbers, distressed OFWs from the Middle East (ME). The process involves “voluntary” repatriation as opposed to “forced” repatriation. Initiated by OUMWA, in particular, that of the ME Section, the current observed practice took root last 6 October 2019. With continuing improvement in mind, the process is actively taking in the lessons learned from the previous experiences and relies on feedback to measure success and create rooms for improvements.
Background and Problem
Repatriation is one of the core functions of DFA-OUMWA. Bringing home distressed OFWs is a recurring activity. But while small groups are easy to manage, a bigger group is always more challenging considering the personnel and material requirements involved. Previously, the Office has relied on the sheer dedication and determination of its personnel on the ground as well as the patience of the stakeholders/customers. With a little luck, the knowledge has been passed on and has been learned on the ground, until a new group takes over. This Template sees to it that repatriation, a core and important function and a process, be planned, documented, implemented, and reviewed for it to continuously improve and benefit the stakeholders/customers and the organization itself. The documentation is the first step to guarantee that the repatriation process is observed and improved in the course of its conduct.
Solution and Impact
Once the mass repatriation schedule was identified and having realized that there was no document to serve as a guide, the Team gathered to discuss what it is that it wanted to achieve as an end goal. The Team agreed to have successful mass repatriations every time with repatriates’/clients’ satisfaction in mind, positive benefits for stakeholders, and continuous improvement of the process that will redound to more benefits for the organization.
As a medium-term goal, the Team agreed on having a document that would serve as a template for all mass repatriations and receptions. The document was envisioned to reflect the lessons in the implementation of the agreed procedures.
In coming up with the template, the Team looked and analyzed the conditions necessary to achieve the outcome and whether the conditions are enough to effect a meaningful change. The Team held a brainstorming session to identify the conditions in the past repatriations, mark the problems encountered, and proposed observable solutions. Scenarios were drafted and subjected to constructive criticism to fine-tune the approaches. Bottlenecks in the processes were also identified and addressed with a more streamlined approach.
In the end, the document tries to capture the brainstorming, sharing of previous practices, assessment of current requirements and available resources, coming up with scenarios, briefings, execution, sharing of feedback, and additional planning to make sure repatriations are client-focused, guarantees shareholder commitment, and has room for continuous improvement.
The impact of the project was easily observed. More government agencies are involved in the reception and the avenue for coordination was strengthened. The agencies are looking into fine-tuning the one-stop-shop approach and how to better and sustain the program. The DFA enjoys the fruits of its leadership and strengthens its position in its advocacy against human trafficking.
Initial observable results include non-financial benefits on the side of the personnel, increased observable customer satisfaction, better management appreciation, and a more efficient process flow that is measurable and may be improved upon. The document in itself as a template is available and shall be subjected to continuous improvement with customer satisfaction as the main aim and increased shareholder ownership.