Ethiopia: mitigating the causes of migration
29-03-2019 | di COOPI

Ethiopia: mitigating the causes of migration

Many young Ethiopian people, especially the most educated ones, are leaving the country to flee from poverty and to build a better future for themselves.

In recent years, migration has sharply increased along the so-called "Route of the Central Mediterranean". Full of hopes and dreams, young people travel for days, weeks, months, even years, to reach their final destination – but this journey can be extremely insidious.

If the journey is not successful, people are forced to go back home. And this is not without consequences. During their journey, the returnees have been deprived of food and sleep, they have faced abuses and have been exploited. Then, as soon as they set foot onto the Ethiopian soil, they are marginalized by society and the work environment. Their physical and psychological health is therefore compromised, leading eventually to mental disorders, in some cases.

This is why COOPI, together with AICS and other partners (CCM and LVIA), from July 2018 to October 2019, will offer its support to about 27,000 people with the project "Emergency initiative for vulnerable people, returnees and migrants, to mitigate the causes of irregular migration in the areas of Bale, Arsi and Western Arsi". Our organisation will directly support approximately 2,200 men and 2,100 women, and about 102 potential migrants and returnees.

Our initiative aims to reduce the causes of irregular migration in Oromia, one of the Ethiopian areas with the highest rate of irregular migrants. To achieve this goal, we have set two main objectives:

  • Ensure access to basic services for young potential migrants and returnees;
  • Increase employment opportunities by creating profitable activities in the agricultural and service sectors.

Ethiopia is a country where mental disorders are culturally associated with supernatural aspects or with a "fault" of the person affected, for which there is no cure. This is why it is difficult for returnees to seek help or find adequate mental health facilities.

Our intervention therefore aims to provide valuable psychological support tools to the most vulnerable people, by:

  • promoting dialogue and identifying suitable solutions to the different types of trauma;
  • organising discussion meetings on mental health and psychosocial support for returnees;
  • training health and social workers on psychosocial support to returnees.

COOPI has been working in Ethiopia since 1995 and, to date, our strategic activities are continuing in the regions of Addis Ababa, Somali, Amhara, Afar, Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz to promote development and respond to emergencies.

Photo credits: Coralie Maneri