IOM marks end of EU funded North African stabilization programme

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IOM has hosted a one-day workshop in Tunis to mark the completion of its four-and-half-year, European Union-funded regional programme: “Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya (START)”.

The event examined the outcomes of the START programme in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia and highlighted lessons learned, challenges and best practices. The workshop also acted as forum to share experiences and defined recommendations for future programming in the field of migration management and governance at the national and regional levels.

“Over 54 months of implementation, the START programme managed to remain relevant and successfully lay the groundwork for strengthening migration management in North Africa in the face of unprecedented shifts in the dynamics for the three countries and across the region,” said programme manager Amr Taha.

In Egypt, START supported four employment centres to conduct counselling and referral services on an ongoing basis. Over 3,000 job seekers in communities at high-risk of migration received livelihood training, of whom 21 percent secured employment.

Another 771 young people and community members attended 39 awareness-raising sessions to address perceptions about blue-collar jobs that negatively impact employment. A career development booklet targeting blue-collar workers was produced.

Some 71 employers received work-ethic trainings to combat low placement and retention rates and 241 young entrepreneurs received entrepreneurial training and mentoring. Of these, 19 received in-kind grants to realize their business start-up ideas. IOM also set up an online platform, Bosla, which provides information to migrants on services available to them in Egypt.

In Libya, IOM established a nationwide network of NGOs to meet the basic needs of over 4,000 displaced families and over 10,000 stranded migrants. It also supported rescue at sea operations and established a governmental Legislative and Policy Task Force on migration management.

IOM Libya was also able to provide emergency aid to over 10,000 migrants and 20,000 internally displaced persons affected by the crisis and living in deplorable conditions. It also repatriated some 888 particularly vulnerable migrants, mainly from Libyan detention centres, to 15 countries.

In Tunisia, IOM supported the implementation of a pilot project to equip 35 border entry points with software to optimize border management. It also worked with the Tunisian government to provide short term assistance to over 1,000 migrants rescued at sea.

In addition, it helped over 300 stranded migrants voluntarily return to their countries of origin; enhanced government counterparts’ preparedness to handle migration crises; supported five local NGOs in creating 176 community projects in the most disadvantaged regions of Tunisia; and provided capacity-building to government agencies and NGOs working to assist migrants and raise awareness of migrants’ rights.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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