Community-Led Conversations Hold Great Potential for Safe Migration in Ethiopia, IOM Study Shows

Community Conversations was implemented in over 1,000 villages in Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Regions.  Photo: IOM 2022/Krizia Kaye Viray

Addis Ababa - The International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) within the Global Data Institute, in collaboration with the IOM Mission in Ethiopia, presented the main findings of a forthcoming report that provides evidence on the impact of the Community Conversations awareness-raising campaign on the decisions of potential migrants.  

Thousands of migrants in Ethiopia start their journeys with limited or deceptive information about the dangers they will face along the way. Sadly, many of them die or disappear in their attempt to cross borders, as reported by the IOM’s Missing Migrants project.   

The IOM study shows that, in contrast to the group of respondents who did not participate in Community Conversations, those who were aware of the programme were eight per cent more likely to think that returnees should receive support from the community to reintegrate, 15 per cent more likely to feel informed about opportunities and risks of migration, and eight per cent more likely to perceive that it is easy to find information on how to migrate with the required documents. 

“The results underscore the importance of engaging and empowering communities as protection actors and using locally available talents and resources to provide better economic prospects for community members,” said Bawélé Tchalim, Migrant Protection Programme Manager at IOM Ethiopia.  

Community Conversations was implemented in over 1,000 villages in Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Regions. It aimed to address information needs surrounding the risks of irregular migration and inform about safe migration pathways and local livelihoods options. Instead of a top-down approach, the programme engaged influential community leaders (teachers, religious leaders, as well as youth and women’s groups) to disseminate messages within their communities. Eighty per cent of the respondents who lived where Community Conversations took place, and who were aware of the campaign, trusted its messages.   

“The data allowed us to identify challenges regarding how the project is implemented, who is participating in it, and how some components worked better than others. It also helps us improve our outreach to the intended populations,” said Eduardo Acostamadiedo, Data Officer at IOM’s GMDAC. 

The evaluation surveyed over 5,700 respondents across 126 control and 104 intervention villages. The research design used matching, a quasi-experimental approach, that uses the sociodemographic characteristics of survey respondents to build an artificial comparison group that is statistically similar to the group of respondents who participated in the campaign. The evaluation team went beyond a convenience sample by informing the sampling strategy with the 2019 Ethiopian census.  

This forthcoming study is part of a series of studies (see reports from Guinea and Senegal) addressing the evidence gaps in awareness-raising campaigns identified by IOM. The full study report will be launched at the end of 2022. The project is being implemented with the support of the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. 

For more information, contact: Krizia Kaye Viray, Media and Communications Officer, IOM Ethiopia Email:  OR Jorge Galindo, Communications Officer, IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre Email:

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