Addis Ababa — IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is spearheading two initiatives in Ethiopia to assist returnees and build youth resilience to prevent irregular migration in the future.
The Organization recently entered into an agreement with Penda Manufacturing PLC, a paper recycling company in Addis Ababa. In cooperation with the Addis Ababa City Administration, the company collects paper from 7000 micro enterprise collectors working in the city.
Within the framework of the agreement with IOM Ethiopia, the company will collect and recycle the Organization’s waste paper — thereby reducing IOM’s ecological footprint — and employ 25 female Ethiopians returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The returnees will run mobile paper waste deposit sites, collecting waste paper for which Penda Manufacturing PLC will compensate them.
Additionally, IOM Ethiopia has provided peer education and livelihood training to 312 students and teachers in 48 schools and 25 youth centres throughout Ethiopia in October 2018.
With financial support from the Government of Denmark, the livelihood project targeted youth in communities where high numbers of Ethiopian youth have embarked on dangerous journeys. By expanding livelihood opportunities for young people, IOM aims to increase their resilience and minimize the economic factors that often push them to migrate irregularly.
On 29 March 2017, the KSA Government decreed that all migrants irregularly residing in the kingdom should either legalize their status or voluntarily leave the country within an established amnesty period. The Government of Ethiopia estimated that 500,000 Ethiopians were likely to be affected by the decree. Since the final extension of the grace period, which ended in November 2017, monthly deportees to Ethiopia average 10,000 individuals. The majority of these returnees come back to Ethiopia empty-handed and in great need of assistance to reintegrate their communities of origin.
In addition to providing post-arrival assistance, IOM Ethiopia has helped vulnerable migrants reintegrate economically through livelihood support. Nevertheless, the reintegration needs of a significant number of vulnerable returnees remain unmet. Through partnerships like the one with Penda Manufacturing PLC, IOM has taken a new livelihood support approach, which it hopes to replicate in the future by working with other UN Organizations and partners.
Elsewhere, IOM and the Government of Ethiopia have also strengthened their collaboration in order to give young people information on the realities of irregular migration and discourage them from undertaking risky journeys in search of “a better life.” Young people comprise one third of Ethiopia’s population, and a significant number do not have access to information on the realities of irregular migration and alternative livelihood options.
The livelihood trainings within the framework of the DKK 10 million project “Enhancing Migration Management in Ethiopia and Promoting Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Returnees”, funded by the Government of Denmark.