Network Migration and Transnational Ties in Five Ethiopian Communities of High Emigration


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 from Ethiopia to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in particular the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, via Djibouti and Somalia. The project included conducting original research with individual migrants along the route (phase one and two) and in communities of high emigration in Ethiopia (phase three).

The third stage of the project was conducted in the first half of 2021 in communities of high emigration in Ethiopia. This stage’s aim was to gain a better understanding of the environment in which migration was taking place and investigate how it was lived and experienced at household and community level. Phase three was also designed to better understand how money, information, knowledge and ideas flow transnationally between communities in Ethiopia and migrants abroad, as well as to gauge whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had changed the migration environment and impacted migration from and to these communities.

This briefing paper is the fourth in a series of thematic reports that build on the analysis of data collected during the various stages of the research project. It aims to explore the role of networks in the migration systems of five different communities of Ethiopia. Flows from each community have been compared to each other, highlighting their specific characteristics in terms of types of flow, migrants’ profiles, their destinations and community and family networks. Family networks have been investigated with an emphasis on the migration experiences of households where one member has migrated compared to the experiences of households where multiple members have migrated – with particular focus on the outcome of migration and the most relevant elements for success. Migration was defined as ‘successful’ in this study when at least one migrant in the household reached the intended destination and was able to remit home. Success is assessed from the household perspective and does not consider the cost at which the outcome was achieved.