Migrant Support Centres in the East and Horn of Africa Look to the Next Three Years
IOM, government and partner representatives have agreed on a strategy to improve the coordination and the quality of assistance offered by MRCs to migrants in need
The assistance offered ranges from medical and psychological support, shelter, food, hygiene items, clothing and information for assisted voluntary return and reintegration
Migration Response Centres (MRCs) in the East and Horn of Africa, and Yemen, have provided support services to thousands of migrants at a time when COVID-19 worsened the vulnerability of populations on the move.
The pandemic has led to riskier migration pathways, reduced livelihood opportunities, and increased discrimination for migrants. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the first eight months of 2021 alone, over 19,000 migrants passed through the 12 MRCs in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan as well as the Migration Response Point in Aden, Yemen, where they accessed a range of services
In this context, IOM, government and partner representatives have agreed on a strategy to improve the coordination and the quality of assistance offered by MRCs to migrants in need.
MRCs are located on key migration routes towards North Africa and Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Africa. The centres are making it possible for governments, IOM, and other partners to work jointly in providing support to migrants who find themselves in difficult and sometimes life-threatening situations.
The assistance offered ranges from medical and psychological support, shelter, food, hygiene items, clothing and information for assisted voluntary return and reintegration.
In September over 50 representatives from government bodies, UN agencies, local NGOs, migrant community associations, along with IOMM staff, got together to formulate a Regional Strategy (2021-2024) for MRCs in the East and Horn of Africa and Yemen.
Three strategic priorities were identified for the next three years, namely: (1) the prevention of protection concerns, (2) the delivery of quality assistance and protection services, and (3) the strengthening of sustainability and comprehensiveness of services through increased partner involvement and government ownership.
Yohannes Sissay, from the Office of the Attorney General in Ethiopia emphasized: “The MRC strategy has a direct relevance to what we have already been doing as the Government of Ethiopia.” He also expressed the need for a strategy that has buy-in from the MRCs themselves.
Mohamud Jama Muse Eid, Director of MRC Bossaso – one of three MRCs in Somalia - said: “In the next three years, it is our common obligation to improve migration management systems through the inclusive participation of all partners. We wish to create a special coordination platform for all our partners.”
In the next stage of the process, partners will again convene for a validation workshop on the Regional MRC Strategy ahead of its launch.
Ashraf Hassan, Senior Regional Programme Manager of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative), said: “The process of developing a regional MRC strategy is one with which we hope to strategically position MRCs within the overall migration response in the region, recognizing them as important mechanisms for the coordination and delivery of protection and assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations.”
Mr. Hassan added: “Importantly, this process is also an opportunity to re-define and strengthen our partnership to ensure a coordinated and holistic response to the situations faced by migrants in vulnerable situations.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).