Rome, June 20 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Foreign Ministry has arranged for a five million euro grant to from its Africa Fund to aid the International Migration Organisation’s work in Libya, Sudan and Ethiopia, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Italy and the IOM have established strategic cooperation focused on providing assistance to particularly vulnerable migrants – especially women – but also on managing assisted voluntary returns with a view to actively support the reintegration of migrants in their homelands,” said the ministry’s Director General for Migration Policy, Luigi Maria Vignali.
“Managing migration flows requires an articulate and diversified response,” he said.
In Libya, two million euros of funds will help complete initiatives already financed by the Foreign Ministry in the past years, according to the statement.
The new grant will go towards voluntary humanitarian return programmes for migrants who are trapped in war-wracked Libya, and will boost direct assistance “to vulnerable migrants in conditions of extreme distress,” the statement added.
In Sudan, the 2.5 million euro financing will support activities to assist vulnerable migrants including the victims of human trafficking, refugees, unaccompanied minors and domestic workers, according to the statement.
The IOM will guaranteed medical and psycho-social assistance is available to the migrants, provide food, hygiene kits and other non-food items and work with the migrant communities to better identify and protect vulnerable people, and support those migrants who wish to return home, said the statement.
In Ethiopia, the IOM will receive a million euros to work to improve the living conditions of 1,000 female-headed households in the Somali and Oromia regions of the country, through awareness campaigns to help them to more effectively access sustainable subsistence means, start up business activities and ensure that local communities become ever more open to women workers and female-managed businesses.
IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean director, Federico Soda, welcomed the new grant.
“These funds….show the Italian government’s intention to commit itself to migrants’ main transit countries through initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable and giving them alternatives to irregular migration, an option that is becoming increasingly risky if not lethal,” Soda said.