UN Migration Agency Undertakes Information Campaign and Distributes Entertainment Materials to Youth Centers in Ethiopia

Agaro - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, handed over entertainment materials to 12 youth centers and 40 schools in Amhara, Tigray, Somali, Oromia, and Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s Regional States in Ethiopia in March and April 2018. In addition to the peer education and life skills training it has provided for the youth, IOM has carried out an assessment on the material needs of the youth centers and schools for months. Based on this assessment, IOM has provided computers, televisions, mini media audio video equipment, chairs, tables indoor and outdoor entertainment materials (table tennis, table football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball sport accessories), which the centers lacked. The provision of the equipment will facilitate engagement of the youth in the regions and expedite their awareness on irregular migration.

In Oromia’s Agaro city, IOM has been working with the local authorities on preventing irregular migration. “The equipment provided today is vital in providing the information and bringing the youth to come to the centers and encourage their creativity, sports, and life skills. The equipped facilities will also limit the time our youth spend on unproductive engagements,” said Nazim Hussein, Mayor of Agaro, upon receiving the equipment from IOM. According to Hussein, the city administration believes that bringing the youth to a productive center is an innovative way to turn the challenges of irregular migration into opportunities. “By engaging the youth on more productive alternatives such as sports and entertainment by nurturing their skills and encouraging crafts and creativity, we can guide them to alternative options,” Hussein explained. 

Agaro City Youth Center used to lack basic equipment such as chairs, TV, computers, sport equipment, among others. Most of the equipment the city had was very old. Despite the lack of materials the center has managed to attract hundreds of youth daily. Zerihun Teshome, Agaro City Youth and Sports Center’s Deputy Head, explains, “The center currently trains close to 90 computer students and it entertains more than 300 youth daily”. The Deputy Head believes that with the addition of the new equipment, the center will be able to attract even more youth. “We are going to be capable to organize biweekly programmes that will bring together hundreds of youth to our center. Now we are able to screen educational movies, engage them on lively discussions on the negative impacts of irregular migration,” he added. 

IOM provided mini-media materials such as amplifier, microphones, horn speakers to two schools. As most youth go to school, the role of school mini-medias is believed to be very critical in changing the mindset on irregular migration and creating a generation with a strong self-esteem and commitment for change within the country. “We have civics, moral, ethics and anti-irregular migration clubs which air programs at the school mini-medias,” said Nawi Mamo, Agaro City Administration Education Bureau Head.  The Bureau Head also stated that the provision of additional mini-media equipment will enable schools to reach even more students and shape their mindset on irregular migration. “Most of the battle on irregular migration starts on the mindset and this should start at schools at a young age,” he added.

As a specialized migration agency, IOM has been working on promoting safe and orderly migration and the prevention of irregular migration from different places. Among its successful flagship projects is a   grassroots awareness raising campaign called Community Conversation. As the organization is diversifying its approach, it has established a youth engagement project on the discussion on irregular migration in Ethiopia.

Two projects have made possible the distribution of these materials: Return and Reintegration of Ethiopians Project, which is financed by the Kingdom of Denmark; and the Reducing Vulnerability to Trafficking in Persons exploitation and Abuse as well as Recruitment by Criminal Networks through Improved Scoi-Economic Conditions Project, which is financed by the People of Japan. Both projects are co-implemented by IOM and the Government of Ethiopia.

For more information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251.11. 5571707 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251.91.163-9082 Email: salemayehu@iom.int