Ethiopian Migrants Returning Home Supported with Employment and Skills Training

A migrant returnee assisted by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative to establish a business. Photo: ©IOM 

Addis Ababa – Over 10,000 Ethiopian migrants who have returned to Ethiopia will receive assistance with skills training and finding jobs, thanks to a new partnership between IOM, the International Organization for Migration, and the BRIDGES programme of the Mastercard Foundation.  
Ethiopia has the largest number of migrants returning to the East and Horn of Africa, mainly after seeking work opportunities overseas. Many would also have left their communities of origin to escape poverty and the impact of climate change. The decision to return is often prompted by unforeseen hardships.

An estimated 79,471 returnees travelled back to the country last year, and over the last four years more than 370,000 migrants have returned. But when Ethiopian migrants arrive home many experience difficulties in finding long-term employment in the country.

IOM and the BRIDGES partnership will work to address these challenges. It is hoped that over 10,000 returning Ethiopians and their communities will be positively impacted in the next two years. 

The BRIDGES programme is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Initiative, and works to unlock the potential for job creation within industrial parks and surrounding ecosystems, as well as promoting local value addition and linkages between large investors and local suppliers. 

Implementation of the BRIDGES programme takes place through First Consult, a leading Ethiopian development consulting firm in the areas of finance and investment, organizational and human capacity building, financial inclusion, and enterprise development. Currently, the programme is running different interventions to support close to 600,000 youth jobs (80% women) and 15,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.  

IOM will assist the BRIDGES programme to identify returning migrants and their communities of origin for available jobs, and skills improvement and training that includes financial literacy, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and starting small businesses.  

The first cohort of 121 attended three days of training aimed at improving their readiness to work locally and to set life goals. The training took place in Dire Dawa, a town with a high rate of migration, located near the border with Djibouti.

The BRIDGES programme will also work to identify job placements for the returnees and potential migrants referred by IOM. In addition, it will partner and coordinate with financial institutions to help migrants get loans and credits to start their businesses. 
The partnership is being implemented by IOM under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative). The latter works with local stakeholders to alleviate some of the causes of irregular migration, (encompassing much of the migration from Ethiopia), such as unemployment. It also supports returning migrants to re-establish their lives by acquiring the skills needed to enter the job market, and by establishing micro-enterprises.

“This agreement will speed up the ability of migrants to integrate back home and increase their chances of accessing jobs and capital. At the same time, integrating more business enterprises in our work will give the private sector the opportunity to help migrants who have returned  access available opportunities in various sectors,” commented Sara Basha, Programme Coordinator for the EU-IOM Joint Initiative at IOM Ethiopia.

Etalem Engeda, the Enterprise Development Team Lead, for the BRIDGES programme at First Consult said: ‘’This agreement will allow aspiring young people who travelled far with the ambition of getting jobs and generating income to look into the many opportunities within their own communities.” 
About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative  
Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, along with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities. 
For more information contact Adam Sahilu at IOM Ethiopia: or Wilson Johwa at Regional Office:

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