Irregular and oftentimes dangerous migration to the Middle East for domestic work is the norm for Ethiopian girls living in impoverished communities. Seeking economic opportunities abroad, many of these young women face risks of abuse and exploitation, and most don’t know enough about safe migration to make an informed decision. The Freedom Fund’s Ethiopia hotspot promotes safe migration for women and girls travelling to the Middle East for domestic work and supports education and recovery services for potential migrants and returnees.
The Association for Forced Migrants (AFM) focuses on providing support to community-based structures called “iddirs” to effectively and sustainably include awareness-raising through their regular activities. AFM works with 123 iddirs within the Addis Ketema sub-city of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. By closely working with the iddirs, AFM was able to ensure that 80% of the iddirs incorporated safer migration promotion into their bylaws, making it an official mandate of the iddirs, thus promoting the sustainability of the approach.
Having heard about AFM’s approach to promoting safer migration in Addis Ketema, the Iddir Council, which represents more than 7,500 iddirs (each with an average of more than 200 members), wanted to learn about the approach and the hotspot’s overall strategy. The Council endorsed the hotspot’s model and voiced support for scaling AFM’s approach to other sub-cities within Addis Ababa. The Addis Iddirs Council signed an MOU with the Addis Ababa Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs to incorporate safer migration into the bylaws of iddirs within all sub-cities of Addis Ababa and committed to formally collaborate to work on safer migration issues.
Leveraging the support provided by the Addis Iddirs Council, we organized a learning trip for iddir leaders from Addis Ababa to visit the Amhara region. The visit was an opportunity for the Addis leaders to share the different methods they use to inform potential migrants about safer migration and discuss ways in which Amhara leaders and government officials could potentially incorporate a similar approach. The buy-in of the model, as seen in Addis, may help expand this approach into other regions.
The Freedom Fund’s Ethiopia hotspot supports efforts to reduce the vulnerability of migrants and returnee women and girls to trafficking to the Middle East for domestic work. Read more about our hotspot here.
Photo credit: Jessica Lea/DFID