Addis Ababa - As many migrants return with little or no money to their name, they often struggle to find work or start their own business at home. To address returnee needs in the town of Woliata Sodo and Bodity in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Region of Ethiopia, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in partnership with the respective city administrations built two production and sales sheds for 100 vulnerable women composed of migrant returnees and potential migrants. The two sheds were officially handed over on November 4, 2022. 

The sheds will serve as place of commerce for the beneficiaries who will use the spaces without the cost of rent. Both sheds are in areas of high traffic in their respective cities. The beneficiaries are open to use the space for any venture of their choosing.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Meseret Dafa, a migrant returnee. She had irregularly migrated to Sudan on foot on a dangerous journey that killed some of the migrants travelling with her. Meseret went to Sudan in hopes of improving her income and finding a better life. After a year of working in harsh conditions and low wages as domestic help for a household in Sudan, she returned to Ethiopia. Once back in her hometown of Bodity, she was identified by the local government as a vulnerable migrant returnee and was selected to be part of the community project. Meseret plans to open a small restaurant in the sales shed.

“Most returnees come back empty handed and find themselves in a worse economic condition than when they left. The sales shed is among the thirty-three community-based reintegration projects implemented under the Joint Initiative to foster social inclusion of communities of returnees into hos communities,’ says Kidist Mulugeta, National Programme Officer of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Ethiopia.

The community-based projects also address drivers of irregular migration through improving services, community infrastructure, and generating income. 
Since March 2017, close to 4,000 individuals directly benefited from community-based projects in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, and SNNP Regional States, and Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa City Administrations.  
About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative  

Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, along with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed, and better governed for both migrants and their communities. 

For more information, please contact Helina Mengistu, email: or Adam Sahilu, email:

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