Cairo, Egypt- This week (15/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a meeting with representatives of eight (8) African Embassies in Egypt to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in support for stranded and vulnerable migrants.

During the meeting, participants were introduced the IOM’s overall programmes and services, including the direct assistance and Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes, which are benefiting thousands of migrants in Egypt.

“This event was an opportunity to get some insight and understanding of each other’s work and how we can change and tailor our approaches with both governments and our charges,” said Adebunmi Oyewumi the Consul of Nigeria.

Best practices and lessons learned on interviewing migrants in detention were shared during the meeting, by IOM and the Ethiopian embassy showcasing approaches that can be replicated by the embassies, and issues related to the issuance and renewal of travel documents for potential AVRR beneficiaries were discussed. This proved to be an invaluable approach to knowledge sharing and forum for discussion on approaches to assistance and facilitation.

IOM estimates that 6.3 million migrants are currently hosted in Egypt, 600,000 of them are in vulnerable situations. COVID-19 has worsened the plight of those migrants.

In response to requests for support received from migrants, community leaders, partner organisations and embassies, IOM has procured and distributed more than 2,600 food and hygiene kits in different cities across Egypt.

The meeting and support to vulnerable migrants in Egypt were made possible thanks to support from the European Union (EU) through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, a comprehensive programme that aims to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. The programme was launched in December 2016 with funding from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).

In Egypt, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative enables migrants who decide to return to their countries of origin to do so in a safe and dignified way and offer reintegration support to Egyptian returnees. Since June 2019, the programme assisted 420 migrants to voluntarily return home and provided reintegration support to 16 returning migrants.