MAPS project launched: an emergency initiative to support migrants in Ethiopia and Djibouti, for safe and informed migration

On Monday 17 October, was held in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, the launch event of the MAPS project, Migration and Access to Protection and Basic Services: Integrated Interventions on the Eastern Migration Route.

The almost EUR 1 million project, financed by Aics and implemented by a consortium of CSOs led by the International Centre for Children and Families (CIFA), intervenes in a crucial area for migration flows in Ethiopia, where returnees and potential migrants, especially women, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors, transit.

The initiative will contribute to the socio-economic integration of people on the move and potential migrants in Dire Dawa, Harar, in the Harari region and Chiro, in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. In fact, the three cities are located along one of the country’s main arteries, the one leading to Djibouti, and are therefore a transit point for migration to the Gulf countries, the so-called Eastern route.

As documented by numerous studies, most Ethiopians who have emigrated abroad have done so through irregular channels, facing dangerous journeys, exposing themselves to kidnapping for extortion, robbery, physical and sexual assault and even death. A recent study reveals that more than 70 per cent of Ethiopian returnees from Yemen have witnessed or suffered extreme forms of physical and psychological abuse.

Furthermore, in 2017, a large-scale airlift operation was launched by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to repatriate irregular migrants to their countries of origin in an attempt to curb unemployment in the country. Since May 2017, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has recorded over 469,000 returnees.

In this context, the initiative stems from the urgent need to put in place specific protection measures and more effective coordination of institutions and civil society organisations, so as to limit the risks for the most vulnerable groups of being exploited, trafficked or left without basic necessities.

MAPS serves as an orientation tool – like a map – for people on the move, while providing protection, psychosocial support, basic necessities, medicines and other medical aids. MAPS aims to facilitate access to basic services for the most vulnerable groups, trying to limit the obstacles that prevent them from benefiting from those supports that can offer alternatives to irregular migration.

One of the main objectives is to increase the skills and competences of the population through vocational training courses, job placement support and the start-up of sustainable small businesses.

Finally, the project aims to strengthen skills and coordination between institutional and civil society actors who are involved in the administration of the migration phenomenon by raising awareness about legal migration and access to related services.

The project launch event was attended by consortium members, partners, local authorities and beneficiaries, who shared positive comments on the new project and full cooperation on its implementation.

Aics Addis Ababa attended the event in Dire Dawa, underlining the importance of the Italian Cooperation’s commitment in Ethiopia on the issue of migration.

“The MAPS project is part of AICS’ long-standing commitment to protecting the most vulnerable sections of the population, particularly migrants and returnees,” explains Roberta Magnani, Emergency Coordinator for Aics Addis Ababa.

The MAPS initiative will be implemented by the International Centre for Child and Family (CIFA), International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP), European Committee for Education and Agriculture (CEFA), Cooperation and Development (CESVI) and the local partner Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD).

Photography: © Annalisa Vandelli/Aics Addis Ababa

Posted in and tagged , , .