UN agency awards community conversation facilitators in Ethiopia

The UN Migration Agency, IOM awarded 12 Best Performing Community Conversation (CC) Facilitators and kebeles in Ethiopia this week.

The CC approach has contributed to IOM’s messaging on the positive aspects of regular (documented migration), awareness creation on the risks of irregular and facilitation of continuous discourse on migration at grassroots level. Using this approach, IOM’s Behaviour Change communication (BCC) programme has strengthened government and stakeholder efforts to prevent the negative outcomes of irregular migration.

During the award ceremony, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) officials and Regional administrators highlighted the effectiveness of the CC program while the CC facilitators highlighted their achievements.

The major achievement of the Community Conversation program mentioned at the award ceremony was its effectiveness in reaching out to communities in a short period of time, even in remote and rural areas within Ethiopia. The program has also been branded as all-inclusive approach as it involves religious leaders, elderly figures and migrants.

In addition to bringing awareness on irregular migration and enabling migrants to take informed decision, the regional administrators stated that the program has empowered communities to assist law enforcement officials in to crack down on the network of human traffickers and smugglers.

“Such community based initiatives are effective to solve the challenges of irregular migration through encouraging shared responsibility at the grassroots level and this should continue to reach out to more districts,” said Ambassador Misganu Arga, State Minister for MOLSA during the ceremony.

“Over the years, IOM, highly appreciates the Government of Ethiopia demonstrating strong commitment to tackle the challenges of irregular migration which is increasingly manifested in the whole-of-government and community mobilization efforts which resulted in reaching out to reaching out to communities and increased prosecution measures on perpetrators.” Said Mr. Jian ZHAO Deputy Chief of Mission for IOM Ethiopia during the event.

In addition to the 12 best performing CC facilitators, four woredas, four Zones and the Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs for the Southern Nation and Nationalities People Region (SNNPR) were awarded commuters and certificates of recognition for implementing the CC program effectively.

The award ceremony was supported by a project funded by the Netherlands Government, part of a community conversation project.