Youth and Women Meet in Nairobi to Validate IOM’s Youth and Migration Strategy for East and Horn of Africa
Nairobi – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) brought together (18-20/5) young people from six countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda) in East and Horn Africa to validate the organization’s Youth and Migration Strategy (2021-2024) for the region.
Through this Strategy, IOM seeks to share good practices on mainstreaming migration into the youth developmental agenda among the key stakeholders across the countries of the region. The strategy complements IOM’s efforts in the East and Horn of Africa in working closely with governments to address the many socio-economic challenges young people face through the Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration (RMFM) on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa.
The youth also took part in “Voices from the Field” on Youth and Women Empowerment in East and Horn of Africa forum which provided an opportunity to share updates, information, and good practices that promote the overall well-being of women and youth in the region, with a specific focus on labour migration.
It is estimated that 226 million young people live in Africa, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. Around 20 per cent of the 127 million people of Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda are between the ages of 15 and 24 and can be labelled as “youth” according to the United Nations definition. In addition, the continent also has a dynamic and ever-growing female population with the share of international women migrants currently at 50%, exceeding the 47% continental average, and reinforcing the phenomenon of “feminization of migration” as more women become educated and enter the dynamic work force.
IOM is engaging with governments and other stakeholders in the region to address high levels of youth unemployment and ways to provide sustainable economic solutions.
At the forum, the young people had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of mainstreaming gender and youth issues into migration management.
Young people will keep moving in search of economic opportunities and better livelihoods, so they need to be included in the processes and policies that govern migration in the region. This demographic if healthy, skilled, and gainfully employed can be a catalyst for accelerated social and economic development in whichever country they are.
“For young people in the region, the main challenge lies in securing of employment opportunities that allow them to improve their living standards and continually hone their skills. While seeking these opportunities, female migrant workers particularly face additional gender-based vulnerabilities. Therefore, this demographic must participate actively in formulating safeguards. We are providing the youth with a platform to do this,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.
The youth forum was held under the auspices of the Better Regional Migration Management program that is fully supported and funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The program seeks to enhance safe orderly and humane labour migration, migration governance and the protection of migrant workers human and labour rights in the EHOA region.
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