Support to the Reintegration of Returnees in Ethiopia

The project aims at improving labour migration governance in Ethiopia and assisting returned migrants to secure productive employment and decent work.

Following the forced repatriation of 163,000 Ethiopian migrant workers from KSA in 2013, ILO through funding from the EU has been working with the GoE to ensure smooth reintegration of returnees. The reintegration comprises the following four major interventions:
Project brochure

Social support including psycho-social support

  • In partnership with a local NGO, AGAR Ethiopia, the project provided psycho-social support to 2,926 returnees. Psychosocial support (PSS) packages includes provision of Shelter; Food; Sanitary Supplies; Medical, Health and Counseling Services.
  • ILO in collaboration with Mekelle University and Center for Victims of Trauma, provided training on PSS to 64 (22 F) Tigray BOLSA staffs from 52 woredas. Following the delivery of the training, PSS services to returnees has been initiated in the 7 ILO supported woredas .

Awareness raising programs

  • As part of the effort to increase the knowledge and awareness of returnees about local opportunities, motivate returnees to engage in livelihood opportunities and to further address stigma and discrimination, the ILO produced and disseminated a 15 minutes documentary on success stories of returnees from KSA.
  • Given the immense role of faith-based institutions and leaders in creating awareness and empowering the communities using faith-based values, the ILO partnered with the Inter Religious Council of Ethiopia (IRCE) to sensitize 193 (28 Female and 165 Male) faith-based institution leaders, experts from Labour and Social Affairs office (Regional, Zonal and Woreda level), media and representatives of returnees on issues challenging returnees with regards to psychosocial, stigma and discrimination in the three target regions (Amhara, Oromia and Tigray).
  • An awareness raising radio program entitled, “I GIVE HOPE” was broadcasted for 14 weeks on FM 96.3 to avoid stigma and discrimination against returnees and combat irregular migration. It is estimated that approximately 600,000 listeners have been reached.
  • To raise awareness of the public on the dynamics around migration, return migration/ reintegration, to create a welcoming environment within the local communities for returnees and to avoid stigma and discrimination of returned migrants, an awareness raising campaign “አኔም ለሃገሬ ተስፋ ነኝ” has been conducted for six months. A series of TV and Radio talk shows, mini media campaigns by 143 high schools, social media engagement, as well as a national arts competition was conducted to engage the public at large. The campaign has reached more than 4.5 million people through the radio and TV programmes and has achieved a total reach of 8,319 people through its social media.
  • The ILO supported MoLSA in the publication of an informational brochure in Amharic on return and reintegration.
  • The ILO in partnership with FANA Broadcasting Corporate produced a news coverage to capture key results, success stories and challenges of the project.

Economic empowerment of returnees

Through this project, returnees were given training on life skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and vocational skills in the areas of their interest as well as based on the demand of the local market. Further to skills development, returnees also benefitted from BDS services as well as relevant support to initiate businesses including access to finance. Moreover, in partnership with the private sector, returnees interested in wage employment were also supported through job placement.

a. Entrepreneurship and motivational skills training.
  • Training of Trainers (ToT) on entrepreneurship and motivational skill was provided to 214 TVET teachers and experts in the three regions. 
  • The entrepreneurship and motivational skills training was then cascaded to 10,363 returnees in the 21 target woredas. This includes the provision of training in partnership with TVET college (9,663 beneficiaries) as well as beneficiaries trained in partnership with Adonay Relief and Development Association (local NGO) in Atsbi Wumberta woreda, Tigray region (700 beneficiaries)
b. ILO SIYB Module
  • The revised Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training modules of ILO, namely Generate Your Business Idea (GYB), Start Your Business (SYB) and Improve Your Business (IYB) was translated into Amharic and disseminated nationally to ensure the wide use of the tool.
  • A ToT on GYB and SYB component of the ILO SIYB module was provided for 161 TVET teachers and selected experts from BoLSA and UJCFSA in the three regions.
  • The ToT further enabled the cascading of the training to 1,869 (722 Female and 1,147 Male) returnees in Oromia National Regional State.
c. Vocational Skills Training
  • The ILO in close collaboration with the three regional technical vocational education and training (TVET) bureaus standardized ten short term skills training modules namely poultry, beekeeping, fattening, dairy production, metalwork, block production/construction, food preparation, horticulture, furniture and garment.
  • Further to the standardization of the 10 training modules, 6,757 (2,294 Female and 4,463 Male) returnees in the three regions benefited from the training. This includes the provision of training in partnership with TVET college (6,277 beneficiaries) as well as beneficiaries trained in partnership with Adonay Relief and Development Association (local NGO) in Atsbi Wumberta woreda, Tigray region (480 beneficiaries)
  • ILO partnered with the Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association (EWEA) provided skills training on hairdressing, beautification, domestic work and housekeeping for 2,301 women returnees in the three regions and facilitated self-employment for 1,051 returnees within university campuses. Trained returnees were supplied with necessary equipment’s such as laundry machines and irons to provide laundry service for university students.
d. Access to Finance
  • ILO established a dedicated matching loanable fund worth ETB 20 million in each of the three regions in partnership with micro finance institutions namely ACSI, DeCSI and OCSSCO for the provision of loan for returnees.
  • Currently ETB 67,083,102.00 has been disbursed and 1,967 (760 Female & 1,207 Male) returnees in the three regions have benefitted from the loan and established a business.
  • o In partnership with Women in Self Employment (WISE), a local non-profit organization, ILO strengthened the capacity of 1,523 (596 Female and 927 Male) returnees on Basic Business Skills, Entrepreneurship Skills, Life Skills, Leadership and Management Skills and 1,137 have been organized into Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) in 11 woredas of Amhara (495 members), Oromia (462 members) and Tigray (180 members) regions.
  • In partnership with Adonay Relief and Development Association 111 returnees trained on entrepreneurship and motivational skills training and vocational skills training have been awarded as best performing individual and group business and enterprise operators. While the top three best performing group operators have been awarded ETB 35,000, ETB 30,000 and ETB 25,000, the individual operators have been awarded with ETB 20,000, ETB 15,000 and ETB 10,000.
e. Wage Employment
  • ILO partnered with the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) to provide skills training on major activities of the horticulture sector and secure employment for 2,785 returnees and vulnerable community members in the three regions.
  • ILO in partnership with Eshururu, a private employment agency and training center, provided skills training for 400 women returnees in child care services and secured employment opportunities in households and institutions in Debre Birhan and Addis Ababa. Eshururu trained additional 37 women returnees as part of its corporate social responsibility.
  • ILO organized 3 job fairs in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray region to allow returnees to meet with potential employers depending on their skills and interest. Accordingly, 1,448 jobs were committed for returnees by the private sectors.
  • ILO in partnership with 251 communication and marketing developed and launched a user friendly and viable mobile application “SIRA” that will facilitate employment opportunities for returnees in Ethiopia by linking employers and job seekers in the non-professional sector. In less than 2 months after the launch of the app, 132 vacancies were posted by employers and 2,088 job seekers have registered.  

Institutional Development

The overall project logic is based on the need to build on national capacity and coordination to manage reintegration. There are very limited service providers in Ethiopia engaged in the reintegration of returnees. Therefore, it was imperative to build the capacity of service providers to support the sustainable socio-economic reintegration of migrant returnees through enhanced coordination and referral among focal institutions and key stakeholders..
  • In order to support the Government of Ethiopia to overcome the challenges of reintegration, it was necessary to first understand the context of return and reintegration in Ethiopia including the current policies, processes and stakeholders involved in reintegration interventions and to analyse the opportunities and gaps in the current system and make recommendations. Accordingly, the ILO produced a Background Reintegration Report. 
  • The ILO in close collaboration with MoLSA developed and validated a Reintegration package, based on the Background Reintegration Report.
  • Based on recommendation of the package, ILO supported MoLSA, the National Anti-trafficking task force, and the Federal and Oromia Region Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency (UJCFSA) in the development of a National Reintegration Directive. The Directive, endorsed at Ministerial level in September 2018, will serve as a legal document to reinforce the use of common methods and approaches in reintegration of returnees at the national level.
  • The ILO arranged a study tour in Sri Lanka for high level government officials of the Amhara National Regional State. The delegation, led by the President’s Office and Chair of the Amhara Regional Anti-Trafficking Taskforce, was able to learn good practices and experience on managing labour migration, reintegration of returnees and enhancing the developmental impact of migration.
  • The ILO in partnership with International Training Center (ITC)-ILO, strengthened the capacity of government officials from MoLSA and Federal UJCFSA on promoting youth employment. This training provided participants with a range of notions, methods and tools to promote youth employment.
  • The ILO in partnership with International Training Center (ITC)-ILO designed a three months coaching training programme to promote entrepreneurship for 28 key government officials in the three regions. The certified 28 officials will help young returnee entrepreneurs to start new business and make it productive and sustainable in their respective regions
  • ILO also filled the knowledge gap on the matter by commissioning the following reports
  • Situation and needs assessment of Ethiopian returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia –
  • Assessment of business services and training market –
  • Rapid market assessment of six sectors –
  • National mapping of stakeholders working in migration and reintegration of returnees
  • Assessment on private employment agencies (PrEA) service provision in Ethiopia
  • Assessment of the national employment services provision and labour market information collection and utilization in Ethiopia –
  • Awareness Raising Interventions to Prevent Irregular Migration in Ethiopia –