Established in early 2018, the Regional Data Hub (RDH) for East and Horn of Africa aims to support evidence-based, strategic and policy-level discussion on migration through a combination of initiatives. The RDH strategy is structured along four pillars, in line with the IOM’s Migration Data Strategy.
At the regional level, the RDH aims to enhance technical coordination, harmonize the different data collection activities and foster a multi-layered analysis of mixed migration movements, trends and characteristics across the region. The regional analysis builds on multiple data sources, most of them directly managed and collected by IOM. External sources are used to further complement the mobility picture and provide a holistic understanding of such population movement dynamics. A regional data warehouse was established to store and record the vast amount of migration data collected in the region, foster analysis across different data sources through the harmonization of indicators and facilitate data management, sharing and consolidation.
The RDH has prioritized the establishment of a solid network of information management staff across migrant protection programming, while convening regular trainings and technical meetings across these four pillars. Progressively, the RDH has become a technical hub able to provide information management services to countries in the region for programming, analysis and data management support. These services include: technical support (database, GIS, tool creation, data analysis, and product packaging), data quality checks, and harmonization of methodologies and practices.
Through a combination of IOM data collection methodologies, research initiatives, and continuous and active engagement with National Statistical Offices (NSOs), key line Ministries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the RDH aims to fill in the existing gaps in strengthening the regional evidence base on migration. This contribution will, in turn, help improve policy-making programming and coordination between all the stakeholders involved.
The RDH is largely funded through the generous support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa. Regionally, other donors contribute to supporting the technical activities of the RDH, while at the country level, programmatic activities and initiatives are funded through multiple donors and funding mechanisms.
For more information, please consult the Regional Data Hub 2020 Snapshot.
ROUTE-BASED RESEARCH STRATEGY
To inform effective migration management and evidence-based, strategic and policy-level discussion, the Regional Data Hub (RDH) has launched multiple research efforts along the key migration routes in the region, in particular along the Eastern and the Southern routes.
Eastern Route research: In late 2019 and early 2020, IOM conducted over 3,600 quantitative surveys and 66 in-depth interviews with young (15–29 years old), Ethiopian migrants travelling towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Interviews were conducted in Obock, Djibouti and Bosasso, Puntland, the Horn’s main gateways to the Arab Peninsula. A third research phase will be conducted in communities of high emigration in Ethiopia. The research explores the drivers of migration and the profiles of migrants along this route, as well as the nexus between decision-making, migrant expectations, risk perception and experienced realities.
Southern Route research: While other migration routes in the region have received significant international attention in recent months, the Southern Corridor remains largely understudied although it is one of the most dangerous and challenging migration routes on the continent. The RDH is currently addressing this gap through a Southern Route Scoping Research project that will create a foundational understanding of the migration dynamics and migrant characteristics of Ethiopians and Somalis along this corridor, through in-depth key informant interviews at origin, transit and destination communities, thereby creating a baseline of data to conduct further in-depth research.
What is the IMPACT study?
IMPACT is a study to evaluate how the assistance provided under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative Programme for Migrant Protection and Reintegration promotes the sustainable reintegration of the returning migrants. IMPACT focuses on Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, the three countries that account for the largest reintegration caseloads in the Horn of Africa region.
EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration
Launched in December 2016, with the support of additional contributions from Germany and Italy to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (“the EU-IOM Joint Initiative”) is the first comprehensive programme bringing together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa regions, the EU and IOM around the shared goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.
IMPACT study objectives
IMPACT is the first impact evaluation conducted on a large-scale reintegration programme implemented by IOM. It builds on the MEASURE Project, under which IOM developed the Reintegration Sustainability Score in an effort to monitor and evaluate IOM’s Integrated Approach to Reintegration. While the development of the IMPACT study was initiated in 2019 through multiple rounds of technical and programmatic consultations, its implementation is due to start in October 2020, after the approval of a Methodological Report, which defines in detail the design followed and the operational workplans. IMPACT is a longitudinal study due to be completed within six months after the formal closure of programme operations at the end of 2021.
Role of the Regional Data Hub
The RDH led the development of the study and supported its procurement. The study implementation is coordinated by both RDH and EU-IOM Joint Initiative programme staff, with the RDH focusing on technical supervision on both methodological and information management matters.
REGION ON THE MOVE REPORTS
The "Region on the Move" bi-annual report is the flagship publication of the IOM Regional Office for the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) since 2017. The mid-year and yearly editions provide an in-depth overview of the main population movement trends in the EHoA, as the region continues to exhibit high mobility patterns, both internally (within countries) and across national borders. Migration in the region is triggered by a combination of persistent insecurity and conflict, harsh climatic conditions, public heath emergencies, socioeconomic drivers, and more traditional seasonal and livelihood factors. As such, population trends in the EHoA are mixed, multidirectional, and intra- and extra- regional, thus requiring multilayered tools to investigate them.
Alongside a chronological outline of some of the main socio-political events that took place across the EHoA region, these reports emphasize the dimensions of Forced Displacement and Regional Mixed Migration Trends, in addition to featuring some of the public health emergencies affecting the region, such as the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Overall, the analysis builds on multiple data sources, most directly managed and collected by IOM, with external sources used to further complement our understanding of mobility and provide a holistic understanding of such population movement dynamics.
The Eastern Route – to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries via Djibouti and Somalia – is one of the three main international exit routes in Ethiopia. Although exact figures on outward migration are largely unknown, the World Bank cites the 2017 stock of Ethiopian emigrants to be at around 850,000 – 20 per cent of whom in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) alone. According to figures provided by the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA, 2019), these estimates appear to be largely conservative and the total number of Ethiopian migrants abroad is closer to 3 million – 17 per cent of whom in the KSA. Data on flows is also very limited; between 2008 and 2014, MoLSA estimates that around 480,000 Ethiopians migrated to the Middle East through legal channels – 79 per cent of whom to the KSA. However, most movements are believed to be irregular, with MoLSA suggesting a ratio of around 2:3 between movements through irregular channels, and those through regular channels.
In addition to being informal, economically driven and highly risky, migration to the Middle East tends to be temporary, meaning that most migrants return to Ethiopia after a few years abroad. In the last five years, following the regularization of the KSA labour market, returns have mainly been involuntary. IOM estimates that around 390,000 Ethiopians have returned to Ethiopia since the 2017 decree on illegal migrants was issued, 92 per cent of whom involuntarily. Given this sudden and unprepared forced repatriation, the reintegration of these returnees has been painfully slow and largely unaddressed. Most returnees face severe difficulties in reintegrating, as they return empty-handed because they used their earnings for living expenses and remittances. Many of them also experienced severe hardships during their stay and during return, causing medical and psychological conditions. Because of its intrinsic characteristics, migration along the Eastern Route is only bound to increase, as more young jobseekers enter the labour market, move from rural into urban areas and benefit from the circle of remittances and/or transnational networks.
Ethiopian returnees arrive at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, where they have been electronically registered by IOM staff since May 2017. IOM also provides travel support and other assistance to the most vulnerable migrants. The monthly Return of Ethiopian Migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia factsheet presents the post-arrival registration data including demographic and geographical indicators, occupations carried out in the KSA and plans for the future. Similar return movements were also observed to Sudan and Somalia, although in smaller volumes.