National Statistical Offices (NSOs)
IOM recognizes that to inform effective migration management and good governance, timely, quality, disaggregated and harmonized migration data are required. The Regional Data Hub (RDH), in close support with the missions and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), has launched multiple capacity building development initiatives to strengthen the capacity of governments and National Statistical Offices (NSOs) to collect, analyse and disseminate migration statistics and knowledge and therefore support evidence-based migration policies. Support was provided to establish Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on migration data to facilitate the harmonization, comparability and accessibility of migration statistics among key institutions and their NSOs. These TWGs are meant to facilitate the establishment of a national migration data governance framework and data sharing protocols across agencies. In particular, these initiatives were achieved through several workshops and technical meetings, the secondment of migration experts and the upgrading of technical equipment.
Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)
At the regional level, IOM is highly engaged in providing technical support to the IGAD to enhance the production, harmonization and comparability of migration data among Member States. In 2012, IGAD was the first regional organization to agree on a policy framework for migration and displacement issues that would guide regional priorities in migration management programmes. This Regional Migration Policy Framework makes specific references to migration data collection and analysis, as well as on exchange of data at the regional level. Furthermore, in 2015 IGAD launched an Action Plan on Migration, whose strategic priority 7 focuses on capacity building, to ensure that the formulation of policies and actions is evidence-based by building national data systems on migration.
In August 2019, IGAD jointly with IOM organized a high-level regional workshop on migration data harmonization in Kampala, Uganda. IGAD Member States acknowledged that the existing migration data is fragmented across many government agencies and is rarely collected for statistical purposes. This agreement led to the commitment to establish a regional TWG to facilitate the harmonization, comparability and accessibility of migration data building on existing good practices from other regions in the continent and intra-Regional Economic Communities cooperation in the Eastern Africa region. This TWG will facilitate capacity development interventions on data collection and the analysis of broader mobility issues, mainstream migration into development plans and national data collection efforts, and enable migration data exchange in the region. Based on this commitment and notwithstanding the challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with the support of its partners, IGAD designed virtual consultations with Member States to keep up the momentum and dialogue during June and July 2020.
IGAD’s next interventions will include the organization of a virtual workshop to formalize the establishment of the regional TWG on migration data, develop guidelines for the harmonization efforts of migration data management in the region, define a list of priority indicators of regional migration, consolidate IGAD’s strategic priorities for migration data through a five-year strategy and produce a statistical yearbook on the state of migration in the region.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted planned training workshops with national statistical offices. The RDH is currently deploying, in collaboration with IOM's GMDAC and IOM's E-Campus platform, an online course to continue to engage NSOs and migration data stakeholders at a distance, an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about the challenges and opportunities of migration data.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
As part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, technical interventions have also been launched to improve the information management capacity of governmental counterparts involved in assisting returning migrants alongside IOM. These operations generally entail the creation of software applications to systematically record information on returning migrants or facilitate referrals and service provision.
Ethiopia – National Return and Reintegration Database
The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is supporting the development and deployment of a National Return and Reintegration Database for Ethiopia, an initiative led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs. The database and its related case management applications will increase the government involvement in return and reintegration operations, while informing and facilitating the implementation of related federal policies.
Returning Migrant Registration System
The RDH has created a registration and certification application for the National Displacement and Refugee Agency in Somalia, which is currently in use. The Agency is now able to issue registration certificates to returning migrants, and these can be used to access services provided by the government.
Digitalization Registration and Screening Process
Technical support to the Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad is currently being provided to digitalize registration and screening processes involving Sudanese returning migrants.
The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a system to track and monitor displacement and population mobility. It is designed to regularly and systematically capture, process and disseminate information to provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of mobile populations, whether on site or en route.
DTM started operating in 2004, and has been continuously refined and enhanced through years of operational experience in over 80 countries in both conflict and natural disaster settings. DTM provides decision makers with primary data and information on human mobility, both in country and at the regional and global level. It has four distinct methodological components:
DTM in the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) region is currently active in six countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda), and is in the process of being expanded to include Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania as well.
Mixed migration in the region is generally tracked through two flow monitoring tools. First, the Flow Monitoring Registry (FMR), aimed at capturing quantitative data about certain characteristics such as the volume of migrants, nationalities, sex and age disaggregated information, origin, planned destination and key vulnerabilities. Second, the Flow Monitoring Survey (FMS), aimed at capturing qualitative information about the profiles of migrants, migration drivers and migrants’ needs. Both are collected by enumerators at Flow Monitoring Points (FMPs). The FMR is a group level data collection exercise, while the FMS is done through interviews with a sample of migrants passing through the FMPs.
Migration in the East and Horn of Africa region has been broadly categorized in four main networks:
Health Vulnerability Monitoring Network: Various points established in key locations in Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda (as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), provide valuable information on movements to and from areas affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), although they operate under the standard Flow Monitoring methodology.
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.
Mobility tracking data includes information relevant to various humanitarian sectors such as water and sanitation, health, food and protection. This data is useful to a broad range of humanitarian and development actors to inform evidence-based programming and targeting of the interventions.
The system flags urgent concerns (such as protection concerns, food shortages, sanitation problems and diseases, among others) to relevant sectorial coordination focal points or National Disaster Management Agencies for follow up, to help ensure that displaced populations live in conditions that meet minimum requirements as defined by international guidelines. This data is also used for accountability purposes, reflecting complaints in assistance and perceptions on responsiveness to identified needs.