In 2019, the IOM Regional Data Hub (RDH) for the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) launched a multistage research project aimed at better understanding the experiences, decision-making, perceptions and expectations of young Ethiopians along the Eastern Route regarding their migration projects. The project aims to investigate the nexus between decision-making, migrant expectations and realities on the ground by interviewing migrants leaving the EHoA towards the Arab Peninsula. Although a reasonable body of work examining migrants’ decision-making processes exists, most of this research was conducted outside of the EHoA region. A more nuanced understanding of migrants’ decision to migrate will help inform strategy and programmatic planning for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other humanitarian and development actors in the region.
Obock, Djibouti and Bossaso, Puntland, were selected as the main study sites – both being gateways to Yemen, they receive a large number of Ethiopian migrants travelling on the Eastern Route. The project involved a quantitative phase in each study location and a qualitative phase in Obock, during which semistructured interviews were conducted with a sample of young migrants. Three survey questionnaires were developed to address the differences between the different types of migrants: (i) individuals migrating for the first time, (ii) individuals who have attempted or successfully completed this journey before; and (iii) individuals who have decided to stop their journey in Obock or Bossaso and return to Ethiopia. The final phase of the project will target communities of high emigration in Ethiopia, where both returning, re-migrating and potential migrants will be interviewed to get a more comprehensive picture of their motivations, perceptions and expectations as well as a better understanding of the environment in which migration is taking place.
Data collected in Obock, Djibouti and Bossaso, Puntland during the first two phases of the research have been compared to context information and relevant literature to produce a series of brief thematic reports that provide in-depth and focused insights on specific indicators, population sub-groups and selected hotspot areas of migration. Each thematic paper includes a brief introduction to the theme under investigation, followed by an analysis of the key indicators (based on the statistical analysis of data) and insights from qualitative interviews, with the aim of increasing knowledge about migration dynamics along the Eastern Route.6 References are included at the end of the document.