Migration Response Centres (MRCs)

To provide migrants with protection and reinforce the government’s capacities to respond to mixed migration challenges, IOM has been supporting the establishment of MRCs since 2009. Situated in strategic locations along the main migration routes, in particular along the Eastern Route from the Horn of Africa towards the Gulf Cooperation Countries, MRCs facilitate the identification of migrants in vulnerable situations and ensure that they receive appropriate, immediate and short-term support, including direct assistance (for instance shelter, counselling support, medical care and assisted voluntary return) and referrals to government entities and service providers. Five MRCs are currently operated by national governments, IOM and other partners in the region: Hargeisa and Bosasso (Somalia) since 2009, Obock (Djibouti) since 2011, and Semera and Metema (Ethiopia) since 2014. Most recently, two temporary sites in Dire Dawa and Togochale (Ethiopia, 2019) and one MRC in Mogadishu (Somalia, 2020) were established.

In 2018, the Regional Data Hub (RDH) led the upgrade of the MRC Regional Data Collection System to strengthen the provision of relevant and robust data. To facilitate assistance and service provision to migrants, data is collected upon registration at the MRCs; however, only the information of migrants who consent to their data being captured is collected. The MRC screening form was designed to foster a better understanding of migrants’ hardships, vulnerabilities and needs, as well as their motivations and intentions. The data collected aims to inform evidence-based policy and programming in the region in close collaboration with local governmental authorities.

In 2020, the RDH launched an additional improvement of the information management infrastructure of MRCs through the development of a software application, the MRC Information System (MRCIS). The design of MRCIS was conducted in parallel with the definition of the MRC Regional Guidelines and Standard for Operations; therefore, this information management application will support managing the processes of providing services to migrants in line with regional standards. Several field-level consultations were organized to ensure that both guidelines and the MRCIS would capture the services and data management needs of these facilities. MRCIS is currently in its testing phase and provides the following functionalities: Registration, screening and consent recording; Case management; Issuance of beneficiary cards and certificates; Service management (food and non-food items, counselling, medical screenings, etc.); Basic inventory management; and Automatic reporting and data-sharing with designated recipients.
The roll-out of the application is currently being re-evaluated due to the travel and mobility restrictions in place for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic containment.