IOM Supports Cooperation Between Ethiopia and The Netherlands on Fostering Safe Migration and Community Development
Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS), is supporting cooperation and sustainable partnerships between Ethiopia and The Netherlands to address the negative effects and root causes of irregular migration, with a strong focus on community development in Ethiopia.
Launched in 2021 by IOM and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, COMPASS is a global initiative, in partnership with 14 countries, designed to enhance access to protection-sensitive pathways and empowerment for migrants of all gender and diversity groups, thereby enabling them to contribute to sustainable development outcomes in their communities.
Between July 19th and July 21st, representatives of IOM and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited local partners and communities across Ethiopia to observe the impact of community-based projects on the sustainable reintegration of returned migrants, community members, and local development.
The group travelled to Awaday, in the Oromia Region, where a 150-person community project recycles plastic and produces charcoal briquettes from khat straws. The project was initiated in August 2022 by Positive Action for Development (PAD), IOM’s local partner, to help returnees and community members engage in livelihood activities that support their reintegration. The operation turns khat wood waste into charcoal dust, which is then processed into briquettes, and sold on the market as a popular and sustainable cooking fuel. The association sells up to 1,000kg of the product every day.
In addition to allocating land for the project’s setup and registering the company, the local government has installed a three-phase electricity unit to power the project’s heavy gear, with PAD staff training the local community team members to manage and operate the business.
“We appreciate the assistance provided to returnee migrants and unemployed youths by this project and would like to thank IOM, the Dutch government, as well as the other partners for collaborating with us”. Efrah Wozir Abdulahi, Mayor of Awaday.
The group then visited the Migration Response Center (MRC) in Dire Dawa Ethiopia’s second administrative city in the east of the country, which provides services to both migrants in vulnerable situations who are in dire need for assistance both on their way to neighbouring countries or immediately upon their return. The MRC in Dire Dawa is strategically located on the eastern migratory route between Ethiopia and countries in the Middle East.
Next on the agenda, was a visit to the Addis Ababa Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Transit Center, which offers temporary shelter and tailored immediate assistance to returnees.. Discussions were also held with representatives of key federal governmental departments on current migration trends, migration management initiatives and priorities.
“The COMPASS initiative illustrates how strong partnerships can effectively complement the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia in responding to the challenges that individuals, their families, and their communities face and that leave them prone to exploitation and abuse”. Bawele Tchalim, Migrant Protection Programme manager for IOM in Ethiopia.
“Our visit in Ethiopia shows that IOM is increasingly focusing on community-based reintegration, which is more sustainable, and increases the government’s accountability towards communities.This approach has a significant impact on the beneficiaries, providing them with employment and creating positive psychosocial effects for both individuals and the community.” Mylene Sijnja, Senior Policy Officer for Migration Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands