‘Returnees Reintegration in East Hararghe Zone of Oromia National Regional State’: New Project Launched

 

A new project entitled ‘Returnees Reintegration in East Hararghe Zone of Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia’ was launched on 25 May 2019 at Haramaya University.

According to Dr. Mengistu Ketema, the Director of Research-Extension and Publication Office of Haramaya University, and the head of the project, the  project aims are to assess psychological, social and economic barriers for re-integration of assisted voluntary returnees (AVRs); deliver need-based capacity building trainings such as psycho-social entrepreneurship and kaizen for AVRs; provide in-kind support to AVRs for initiating and strengthening economic activities in a sustainable way; identify local institutions’ migration management capacity gaps and deliver capacity building trainings; and monitor and evaluate the whole AVRs reintegration processes

The launching workshop was officially opened with a welcoming speech by Prof. Jeylan Woliyie, Vice-president for Administration and Student Affairs, and in his speech he addressed the challenges of migration and its effect in Ethiopia. “The need to be accommodative while integrating returnees, and the need to have very flexible implementation mechanisms that suits to the local circumstances are important points to consider,” according to Prof. Jeylan. Owing to this, he stressed on long-lasting cooperation among zonal, woreda and kebele stakeholder offices, Haramaya University, IOM and other potential stakeholders.

Ms. Sara Basha, Program Coordinator of EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Ethiopia, also delivered informative key messages focusing on the challenges that Ethiopia is facing pertaining to migration, efforts being made by IOM to reintegrate AVRs, and the general expectations from the current new project. She also called upon a strong, continuous partnership among different stakeholders in the reintegration processes.

On a similar note, Dr. Ketema Bekele presented a brief overview of the new project. He indicated that the project targets more than 145 AVRs from Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Libya and Sudan spread over different woredas of East Hararghe Zone. It was stressed that the reintegration process will be holistic and need-based where needs, challenges, and statuses of the returnees will be initially surveyed followed by different capacity building trainings, counseling services, and in-kind support. The project will also involve community representatives and local institutions in areas where the returnees are currently living. It was also indicated that effective implementation of the project requires collaborations of different stakeholders as one institution cannot single-handedly address the challenges of the returnees to get them integrated economically, psychosocially, and politically. According to Dr. Ketema, returnees are available in about 20 woredas of East Hararghe Zone where four areas (Harar, Gurawa, Beden, and Meta) are selected as implementation centers.

More than 60 participants including representatives from East Hararghe Zonal Administration Office; Zonal Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs; Zonal Women, Children, and Youth Affairs Office; Zonal Cooperative Promotion Office; Zonal Industry and Enterprise Development Office; different woreda level offices from the project implementation woredas, TVETs, higher and medium level management of the University, project team members, and two representatives from IOM were in participation.

The project is initiated by four staff members from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, namely, Dr. Mengistu Ketema, Dr. Ketema Bekele, Mr. Dawit Terefe, and Mr. Ibsa Aliyi. It is a one-year project financially supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through its EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

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