The Eastern corridor from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula has traditionally been one of the busiest maritime routes with 394,622 migrant arrivals since 2018.1 The journey undertaken by predominantly Ethiopian migrants2 can involve several stops at key transit locations to rest, look for smugglers, or work.3 In these locations, migrants’ interactions with local communities are linked to their need for information, for assistance and services, and for income-generating opportunities as well as on potential shared cultural and ethnic affiliations. Recognizing that local communities in transit locations are key stakeholders in the migration process, MMC and IOM have partnered under the 2022 Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen to design and implement a mixed-methods study to generate an evidence-base on the dynamics between local communities and transiting migrants along the Eastern Route.
The study has targeted three key transit locations along the Eastern Route: Hargeisa in the Somaliland region, and Obock and Tadjourah in Djibouti. This snapshot presents the main findings on interactions between migrants and local communities in Hargeisa, based on 201 surveys conducted with local community members in July 2022.4 Hargeisa is the capital of the Somaliland region and is a place of transit mainly for Ethiopian migrants. After crossing into the region at the border towns of Borama and Waajale, many Ethiopians stop in Hargeisa before continuing on to Bossasso and Ceelayo where they embark on the sea crossing.5
• Most local community respondents interact with migrants on a daily basis (60%), while 24% interact weekly.
• The provision of free assistance is the most common form of interaction (52%) between local community respondents and migrants, followed by commercial/economic interactions (45%) and social interactions (22%).
• Food (89/97) and water (55) are the most common forms of free assistance provided by local communities, followed by cash (40).
• Migrants are commonly clients of local businesses, as described by 61 of 85 who had commercial/economic interactions with migrants. Others hire migrants (27), most often in domestic work.