Understanding the needs of migrant returnees cited as critical in the reintegration process

ILO shared best practices and lessons learnt in the reintegration effort of migrant returnees.

Press release | 07 December 2018
ILO News (Addis Ababa): The International Labour Organization (ILO) convened a high-level knowledge sharing forum on best experiences and lessons learned from ILO's programme on 
supporting the reintegration of returnees in Ethiopia. The Forum which took place 05 December 2018 in Addis Ababa, shared best practices of Ethiopian as well as other countries’ to contribute to future interventions on reintegrating returnees back into their communities and the labour market.

Mr. Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative & UN Humanitarian Coordinator, in his opening statement congratulated the ILO for the remarkable achievements and appreciated the European Union for their generous financial support. 

During the panel discussion the importance of enhanced collaboration among all stakeholders involved in sustainable reintegration of returnees was highlighted. Ms. Worknesh Asfaw, a returnee entrepreneur stressed on the importance of family and community support as being the anchor to a sustainable reintegration. 

Dr. Mehret Debebe, a renown Psychiatrist highlighted the importance of understanding the specific needs of individual returnees as well as the impact of mental trauma as critical aspects for successful reintegration. As a way forward, panelists highlighted the need for partnership, coordination and reliable data as critical for sustainable reintegration in Ethiopia.

Mr Eric Habers, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia, in his closing encouraged all stakeholders working on reintegration to follow the example of the ILO project and coordination and confirmed EUs’ continued commitment for the support of the Government of Ethiopia in their effort in reintegrating migrant returnees.

In its tenure (2015-2018), the EU funded ILO “Support to the Reintegration of Returnee in Ethiopia” project supported close to 18,000 returnees in psychosocial and socio-cultural reintegration as well as economic reintegration. As of today, nearly 3,000 vulnerable returnees have been referred to appropriate services (i.e shelter, medical services, psycho-social counselling), and close to 7,000 returnees and LVC members have been supported to start their own business and engage in wage employment. Additionally, close to 14,000 returnees have acquired knowledge on technical and/or financial skills and/or business development services (BDS); while about 3,000 have received access to finance services. The project also raised awareness on the risks of irregular migration and the need to create a welcoming environment for returnees. It also promoted socio-economic opportunities for returnees in Ethiopia and strengthened the institutional capacity of different stakeholders involved in the psychosocial and socio-cultural reintegration as well as economic reintegration of Ethiopian migrant returnees. Finally, the project left a mark by supporting the Government of Ethiopia in developing and adopting the Reintegration Directive in October 2018.