Nairobi, Kenya - the Regional Office for the East and Horn of Africa hosted (11-13/4) a Regional Stocktaking workshop in Nairobi (Kenya) on the evidence on migrant protection and reintegration in the Horn of Africa. 

The three-day workshop provided a platform for over 70 technical level partners from government, NGOs, UN agencies, academia, and IOM representatives to discuss the body of evidence from recent research and evaluation exercises, as well as promising case studies implemented by both IOM and partners. The workshop drew particular attention to the research findings and recommendations offering a space for discussion among migrant protection and reintegration experts, practitioners, and other stakeholders.

The workshop was organized by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa funded by the European Union. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is the first comprehensive program to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. The Horn of Africa component of the initiative operates in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan to enable migrants who decide to return to their countries of origin to do so in a safe and dignified way and restart their lives in their countries of origin.

“It is our joint responsibility to protect and support migrants throughout their journey and upon arrival,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa noted in his opening remarks. 

"In Ethiopia, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative program is considered a flagship program which introduced new and innovative ways of addressing the needs of returning migrants and their communities. The program taught us the importance of bringing together various stakeholders from government and non-government institutions to extend services and assistance to returnees, communities and potential migrants in migration-prone areas" said Ms Ayelech Eshete, State Minister in the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in the keynote address. 

The workshop took place under the umbrella of the regional Migrant Response Plan (MRP) for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (an inter-agency and inter-regional plan that provides urgent life-saving humanitarian and protection support and enhance access to basic services for migrant).  MRP partners (including the Danish Refugee Council (DRC)) presented the findings of their research and practice and contributed to the discussions. DRC as the co-chair of the Regional Migrant Protection Working Group (MPWG) highlighted the critical importance of a routes-based approach when addressing the migration situation in the region. The MPWG is a key forum for migrant protection actors to coordinate their response and advocacy. 

The workshop was a significant learning opportunity to inform future operationalization of the Integrated Approach to Reintegration, which was launched by IOM in 2017 to address the economic, social, and psychosocial needs of returnees in a multidimensional and coordinated manner at individual, community, and structural levels. 

A key recommendation included reinforced integration of various components of the integrated approach to reintegration, with studies and experience from practitioners. These recommendations highlighted the interconnectedness of the psychosocial, social, and economic dimensions at the individual, community and structural levels and the need to design programmes addressing these dimensions in a comprehensive manner at each level, as they are mutually reinforcing.

“On the EU side we don’t underestimate the importance of the integrated approach to reintegration, which the Joint Initiative has pioneered, and we are committed to work towards more sustainable, predictable and locally owned reintegration” said Jorge Pereiro, Head of Sector for Migration and Peace and Security at the European Union’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships.

The outcomes of the workshop will help guide future programming on migrant protection and reintegration and contribute to evidence-based approaches to address the challenges faced by migrants and promote their safe and dignified reintegration into their communities of origin. 

For more information, please contact IOM Communications Officer (Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen) Eva Sibanda on Phone: +254795424202