Ethiopian President inaugurated the launching of Sewenetwa, a movie telling a migrant's story

Ethiopian president H.E. Sahlework Zewdie, inaugurated the launching "Sewenetwa", a movie featuring the plight of Ethiopian Migrant Workers.

Press release | 25 January 2019
ILO News (Addis Ababa): ‘Sewenetwa” a movie featuring the plight of Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle East was launched on 25 January 2019 in Addis Ababa. The movie, which is based on true events, was launched in an official ceremony opened by H.E. Sahlework Zewdie, President of Ethiopia.

ILO in partnership with Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) launched a movie titled “Sewenetwa”, which depicts true incidents in the lives of migrants during their plights to the Middle East.  “Sewenetwa”  is part of a series of initiatives undertaken to protect migrant workers and combat irregular migration in Ethiopia.  This initiative, which is funded by United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, aims to contribute to the effort to bring about an attitudinal change as well as practice, to combat irregular migration, by highlighting labour migration as a choice for potential migrants. The movie gives a comparative story of labour migration, regular labour migration being the positive aspect as opposed to irregular migration that puts migrants in difficult situations. 

In her statement, H. E. Sahlework Zewde, indicated that different measures are being taken by the Government to combat the serious crime of irregular migration, which continues to prevail due to existing illegal brokers' network in the country. She appealed to government and non-government organizations to better coordinate and work together to fights this serious crime. On behalf of the government she stated that they will do whatever is required to combat irregular migration.

The movie will be disseminated in different parts of the country through media, Migrant Information Centers, youth association, women association, schools and local governments to educate potential migrants and the wider public about labour migration. The movie was screened for the first time at Hyatt Regency Hotel on 25 January, 2019 in the presence of H.E. W/ro. Sahework Zewde, President of FDRE; H.E. Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, Minister of Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs; H.E. Amb. Bertukan Ayano Dadi, State Minister of MoFA; H.E. Amb. Mesganu Arga, State Minister of Ministry of Trade; H. E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs; Mr. Aeneas Chuma, UN Resident Coordinator, and other high level officials from Government, Embassies and UN agencies as well as NGO and private sector representatives; migrant returnees, the media and artists.

H. E. Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, Minister of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs confirmed the Ethiopian Governments commitment to combat irregular migration in Ethiopia. She further recognized that even though the Ethiopian Government has taken ample measure to combat this unacceptable form of human right abuse, to date we have not managed to overcome it as the face of irregular migration tend to change all the time. In concluding, she highlighted the importance of awareness raising as one of the way to combat irregular migration and to this end the MOLSA in partnership with the ILO-DFID funded project have decided to produce the movie “Sewenetwa” to use it as a tool to create awareness.

In addition, Mr. Christian Rogg, Head of DFID on his part noted that migrants are actors in development, in both destination and origin countries and further underlined importance of strengthening legal migration pathways to enhance the positive contribution of migration to development. He further mentioned that the UK is supporting GoE’s endeavors to improve labour migration governance and to provide better protection to migrant workers at the federal and regional levels and has committed £170m for Refugee and Migration programme, DFID is also working to help create jobs in Ethiopia, thereby reducing the need for Ethiopians to seek work abroad.

Likewise Mr. Alexio Musindo, ILO Country office Director underscored the need to promote decent work in Ethiopia, to give truth to the proposition that migration is a choice and not a necessity. He further noted the need to build migration regimes which respond equitably to the interests of countries of origin and of destination and those of migrant workers and members of existing national labour forces. In conclusion, he expressed ILO’s commitment and continued support in strengthening the labour migration governance in the country through its Decent Work Country Program and fair migration agenda. Also plead to commit ourselves to making migration a choice, rather than a necessity in Ethiopia.

For more detailed information or movie, please contact or visit:

Aida Awel (Ms)
Chief Technical Adviser,
ILO Country Office for Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan and for the Special Representation to the AU and ECA
Menelik II Avenue, ECA Congo Building, 5th Floor
P.O Box 2788, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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