Connect with us

News

IOM empowers women business owners in Somalia to recover from COVID-19 Impact

 

Mogadishu – The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives—and economies—across continents, sparing neither high-income countries, nor the low-income ones whose citizens often seek jobs abroad to escape economic distress. Few countries are as migration-dependent as Somalia. And few have been treated as harshly by the global downturn.

Somalia’s informal economy—based largely on remittances, imports, and agriculture—has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. It is estimated that 40 per cent of households in Somalia are dependent on remittances, and pandemic-related travel restrictions have cut remittance flows sharply.

An IOM study on remittances this past August reported Somalia’s Department of Diaspora Affairs had noted a decline in remittances based on reports received and consultations held with a number of mobile transfer operators indicating a sharp decline. IOM research indicated a decrease of remittances by over 60 per cent.

Woman-owned businesses have been especially hard-hit, with disruptions in supply chains and reductions of cashflow. The flow of customers also has been disrupted as curfews and social distancing put many customers off.

A recent study, conducted in Mogadishu by IOM and the local research firm Raagsan Consulting, found that, of 320 women-led businesses surveyed, over 300 reported reduced revenue and sales. About half reported having to put their operation on hold with about the same number saying they faced difficulty paying back loans or rent. Almost 60 per cent said they had been forced to shut down during the pandemic, with about one third of that group closing permanently.

READ  13 stranded Nigerians return from Germany, Canada, France

Nimco Yusuf, 45, is one businesswoman feeling the pain. She started her kitchen utensils business in Mogadishu ten years ago hoping to address new market demand after years of conflict. She started by offering cooking utensils.

“When I started my business, Somalia was coming out of many years of conflict,” she explained. “Families started returning, and there was a need to restart their homes, including kitchen items.”

By the start of 2020, Nimco was doing well enough to support 15 children. She was even able to hire outside help, putting two full-time employees to work in her shop.

Then, in March, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Somalia. A government-imposed curfew and other mobility measures impacted her business, along with thousands of others.  “I experienced a 62 per cent decrease in sales and a shortage of supplies.” she said.

Today, Nimco is one of 185 Somali women being supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to deal with the financial impact that the COVID-19 had on their businesses.

IOM Somalia, with funding from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), began partnering with Somalia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) to support women-led micro and small enterprises (MSEs) impacted by COVID-19 in Mogadishu.

READ  How Nigeria 'imports, spreads' COVID-19

Cash assistance is the key component, with grants ranging from USD 650 to USD 2,000, depending on the size of the business and its needs. Cash grants are designed to help these entrepreneurs restock supplies and may address other needs, such as paying rent, electricity, or loans.

IOM estimates that the grants to 185 beneficiaries will directly improve the lives of 1,122 family members. The financial stimulus that supports these small businesses will also positively impact the local economy.

The women also receive five days of training in business continuity, including basic financial literacy. Most of the women receiving this support present high vulnerabilities, including having large numbers of dependents, living in rented places or informal settlements, being displaced, having members of the family with disabilities, being unable to write or read, or having children at risk of child labor.

The support of IOM and the national government comes at a crucial time. With remittance flows declining since the start of the pandemic, many families have been pushed deeper into poverty. This risks reversing decades of progress on development and poverty alleviation.

“Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Somalia’s economy is imperative to reduce push factors for migration that can put at further risk individuals in vulnerable situations, especially women and children,” says Richard Danziger, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission.

READ  ‏NIgeria lists acts of hostilities to its citizens by Ghanaian authorities

This kind of support in Somalia addresses not only the most urgent needs of the women, but also empowers them to be agents of change in their communities and an inspiration for future generations.

“Please continue to support us, not with money, but with skills training,” said Nimco.

This activity is possible thanks to the generous funding of the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
27 − 6 =


News

IOM assists border control on route linking Ethiopia, Kenya

IOM has helped to establish a new Border Control Post between Ethiopia and Kenya. Photo: Rahel Negussie/IOM

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, Africa’s second largest country (by population) after Nigeria, is also one of the continent’s largest sources of international migrants.

Along its vast national circumference –some 5,311 kilometres, connecting Ethiopia to Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia– government control posts are limited. Lack of adequate staffing and modern technology impedes proper migration management, a matter of concern for national governments as well as for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

At the start of this new year, IOM has helped open a new Border Control Post (BCP) between Ethiopia and Kenya. The post, at Neprumus in Ethiopia’s Dasenech district, straddles one of the 830-kilometer Ethiopia-Kenya frontier’s most frequented migratory routes, alongside a major route for Ethiopian migrants trying to reach South Africa. Ethiopians normally pass through Kenya into Tanzania, then travel further south.

READ  Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

In March 2020, at least 60 Ethiopian irregular migrants were killed after being trapped in a lorry along this route. Hence, the urgent need for better and improved border control posts in the region.

“Supporting the establishment of modern and efficient BCPs will facilitate safe and orderly migration of citizens, enhance the relationship between bordering countries, provide protection, and increase the political and socio-economic stability between Ethiopia and Kenya,” explained Kederalah Idris, IOM’s Better Migration Management (BMM) Project Officer.

IOM is also supporting Ethiopia’s Immigration, Nationality, and Vital Events Agency (INVEA) with training to enhance the capacity of immigration officers, and at the same time supplying infrastructure and office equipment, computers, and generators to establish new border control posts.

“Strengthening BCP will play a great role in facilitating safe movement of community members to neighbouring Kenya and will create job opportunities for the community. In addition, it will have a big contribution in facilitating regular migration, while monitoring irregular movements,” said INVEA Director-General, Mujib Jemal, during his opening speech. He also recognized IOM and the zonal administration’s efforts in facilitating the opening of the BCP.

READ  Eight African migrants drown,  several others injured off the Horn of Africa 

At stake is more than improved border efficiency. IOM sees hope for improved trade benefiting the regional economy and raising livelihoods for some 48,000 people living in the Dasenech District.

Health checks are also being integrated into the BCP, which is a timely development given that COVID-19 continues to affect the nation. As of 18 January, there has been 131,546 confirmed cases in Ethiopia leading to 2,033 deaths. Against this COVID-19 backdrop, IOM looks forward to these new controls reducing mobility restrictions and facilitating movement of goods, services and skills. Beyond commerce, IOM also views BCPs as vital for protecting people from falling prey to human smugglers and traffickers.

Plans are to open more BCPs in the Pagag, Kurmuk, and Fefrer border towns in Gambella, Benishangul Gumuz, and Somali regions, bordering South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia respectively.

During the inauguration attended by representatives from IOM and senior officials from INVEA, IOM Ethiopia received a ‘Certificate of Recognition’ from the Ethiopian authorities for the support to strengthening Ethiopia’s border management and control efforts.

READ  Nigerian girl held captive in Lebanon cries for help

The establishment of this important BCP is supported by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

Amid 2020 pandemic IOM supported over 2,500 migrants with voluntary return from Greece

Dudu and his family taking some selfie pictures before departing to Georgia. Photo: Konstantina Mintzoli/IOM
A family from Iraq receiving transportation assistance from IOM to the airport in Athens. Photo: Konstantina Mintzoli/IOM

Athens – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) supported the voluntary return of some 2,565 people from Greece to their home countries in 2020, in coordination with the Greek authorities and respective countries’ diplomatic representatives.

Amid hardships and challenges induced by COVID-19 in the past year—including mobility restrictions and closed borders—many migrants living in Greece expressed interest in returning voluntarily to their home countries.

“It is extremely important to be able to continue offering the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration support during this challenging period, as for many migrants, COVID-19 posed additional challenges to their stay in the EU,” explained Gianluca Rocco, Chief of the IOM Mission in Greece.

The 2,565 Returnees from Greece through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme originated from 46 countries, with the largest contingent (734 migrants) coming from Pakistan. This was followed by Georgia (529 migrants), Iraq (489), Afghanistan (188) and Iran (163). Thirty per cent of migrants assisted were males between the ages of 22 and 29.

READ  ‏NIgeria lists acts of hostilities to its citizens by Ghanaian authorities

The number of returns fluctuated throughout 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, from 868 in the first quarter to 300 per month at the end of the year.  Since launched in Greece in 2010, IOM’s AVRR programme has assisted more than 50,000 people to voluntarily return to their home countries.

In 2020, IOM developed initiatives to overcome challenges, mitigate negative impact on migrants and ensure that Ministry of Health protocols were applied to all without discrimination. IOM medical teams provided assessments and medical examinations, including COVID-19 testing. In addition, relevant information was communicated through online outreach activities, and the dissemination of leaflets and posters to migrant communities. In parallel, helplines operating in 13 languages supported remote counselling as needed.

“We worked intensively with the Greek authorities and the Embassies of countries of origin to develop new cooperation mechanisms to overcome mobility restrictions and make the returns possible, particularly for the most vulnerable,” said IOM’s Rocco.

READ  Five children, 40 other migrants die in largest recorded shipwreck off Libya Coast 

IOM Greece also established an Online Scheduling Appointment (OSA) platform through which potential beneficiaries were able to book counselling appointments online.

When commercial flights were not available, IOM organized charter flights to Georgia and Iraq for 433 people in total in close collaboration with all relevant actors in Greece and the two destination countries.

Prior to their departure from Greece, migrants who applied for AVRR had the opportunity to access temporary accommodation facilities including the Open Centre for migrants (OCAVRR) in Athens.  IOM also provided a cash grant to cover returnees’ initial basic expenses after their departure.

Upon return, 1,008 migrants who qualified under the programme for in-kind reintegration assistance were able to use the support to set up small businesses (individually or in partnership), training programmes, temporary accommodation, job placements, medical support and material assistance.

IOM reiterates the importance of promoting the systematic inclusion of reintegration assistance as a force for stability in communities of return and as a bridge between migrant return and sustainable development.

READ  Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

Download here for a snapshot view of the programme’s main 2020 highlights.

The project “The implementation of assisted voluntary returns including reintegration measures and operation of Open Center in the Prefecture of Attica for applicants of voluntary return (AVRR/OCAVRR)” is 75 per cent  co-funded by European Funds (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) and 25 per cent by Greek National Funds.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

Human trafficking: PJI  urges proper trauma management for returnees

The Pathfinder Justice Initiative (PJI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has called for proper trauma care for migrant returnees to prevent them from becoming vulnerable to subsequent trafficking.

Evon Benson-Idahosa, the Executive Director, PJI, made the call at a Rehabilitation Workshop for Providers Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking held in Benin on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by PJI and funded by INSighT- Building Capacity to deal with human trafficking and transit routes to Nigeria, Italy and Sweden.

Benson-Idahosa said that a majority of returnee-migrants usually undergo different traumatic situations and needed to be properly rehabilitated before being integrated back into the society. She noted that if the migrant returnees were not properly rehabilitated, they would not be able to put into good use any form of skills acquisition or empowerment received.

“Providers serving survivors should know how to handle traumatised victims because many of them, especially females, have been raped and have gone through horrible experiences during their trafficking journey.

READ  Hungary urged to ensure access for asylum seekers

“The providers should know that there are best practices in terms of handling trafficked victims; they need to use a survivor centred approach to prioritise the needs of the victims,” she said.

She called on the government at all levels to partner more with NGOs on providing best traumatic care for returned migrants in the country.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Voice for African Migrants. Site Design: Semasir Connect