European Union External Action

EU and IOM assistance proves vital for migrants

11/02/2019 - 17:00

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is supporting more than 60,000 returning migrants with post-arrival reception and reintegration support in their countries of origin. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini met IOM Director-General António Vitorino at the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Center in Addis Ababa this weekend.

During her visit at the IOM Transit Center the High Representative had the opportunity to meet and listen to the stories of migrants.

"That is what strikes me the most, that you leave dreaming of something big and then you find a really hard life", Mogherini said.
The stories of Jemal and Kefelegn, two returnees from Malawi, show the impact of the EU and IOM joint work.
In the hope for a better life Jemal left his family behind and sold two hectares of land. The hardship he faced along the route made him immediately accept IOM's offer to return to Ethiopia. Thanks to the work of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative Jemal and other returnees received psychosocial support and reintegration counselling in the IOM Transit Center in Addis. Jemal decided to go into cattle fattening and now hopes to expand his business and provide his family with a modern home.
Kefelegn did not have the opportunity to continue his education due to his family's economic situation and therefore decided to leave Ethiopia. He also encountered very difficult situations, including physical abuse for 7 months. After his return to Addis Ababa he participated in a training course and received in-kind economic reintegration support to start a barber shop business, thanks to the support of this Joint Initiative.  
Next to protection and reintegration, promoting safe and informed migration is also a core component of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative. High Representative Mogherini stressed the important difference it can make for migrants also "to inform better before these people start leaving".
Over 1,000 events and activities have been organised for migrants in order to inform them about the risks of irregular migration, the possibilities of regular migration as well as to foster a better understanding between migrants and their societies.
The EU-IOM Joint Initiative entered its third year in December 2018 and is implemented in partnership with 26 countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa.