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26 March 2018

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IOM and Caritas together assist distressed Ethiopian children in Djibouti. © IOM

Humanitarian Partnerships with Civil Society: Ensuring Assistance Matches Context

IOM – Over the past three years, Suma Sherma, a tireless health worker in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, has helped over 100 pregnant women and assisted some 40 births. 

Suma works for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and its local non-governmental organization (NGO) partner, Mukti. The two organizations provide health care to Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis living in Cox’s Bazar through their jointly run clinics and mobile health teams.

As crises emerge and evolve regularly, humanitarian responses must be quick and context-based to be effective. Partnerships with NGOs have proven to be one way of achieving this. NGOs often specialize in particular sectors of humanitarian aid, and local ones have an in-depth understanding of the situation. By partnering with NGOs, IOM can tailor its assistance to the specific needs of the targeted population.

For instance, Mukti, the NGO Suma works for, was founded in the early 1990s to tackle illiteracy and poverty among underprivileged Bangladeshi women. Since then, they have expanded their area of work to health care. Around 16 per cent of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are single mothers, 40 per cent are under the age of 17, and most have witnessed horrific atrocities in Myanmar. For IOM to shape its assistance to their needs, Mukti’s focus on women’s health and longstanding presence in Cox’s Bazar is invaluable.

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Migration in the News

  • Xinhua reported that IOM on Friday launched an appeal for 88.5 million US dollars to help those needing humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia.
  • Leral.net, PressAfrik, and Dakar92 reported that 102 Senegalese migrants returned home from Libya on Thursday under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migration protection and Reintegration.
  • CGTN and Libyan Express reported that 149 Nigerians have returned from Libya on Thursday.
  • The Nigerian Voice reported about the horrors witnessed and experienced by one of the Nigerian returnees from Libya.
  • Maliweb.net, Mali Buzz and 30 Minutes reported about the first steering committee of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Mali organized last week together with the Ministry of Malians abroad.
  • Newstalk reported that the final 129 asylum seekers to be relocated from Greece have arrived in Ireland. The final flight brought 73 adults and 56 children, 36 of whom are under the age of 12.
  • Thomson Reuters  Foundation reported that  Indonesia’s 14,000 refugees face an uncertain future as they have no access to citizenship and few rights in the country where they live – but are unable to go home due to safety fears. 
  • The New York Times published an Op-Ed which noted the use of African solutions to solve African problems, citing as an example the official cursing of human traffickers by Oba Ewuare II, traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, and the revoking of curses placed on victims of trafficking.
  • The New York Times reported about a former Khmer Rouge slave who blew the whistle on Wells Fargo.
  • EFE reported human trafficking networks have been taking advantage of the vulnerable condition of the Rohingya refugees and exploiting young people for commercial sex work.
  • European Union - Committee of the Regions reported that the European Union needs to increase support for cities and regions and border countries that are on the front line of managing migration, the European Committee of the Regions said last week during the EU's assembly for local and regional politicians.
  • El Peruano reported that IOM Director for South America Diego Beltrand praised the policy implemented by Peru in favor of Venezuelan migrants. Peru implemented the temporary residence permit to regularize the migratory status of Venezuelans who have arrived in the country. 

Trending on the Internet

  • CNN reported that tens of millions of people in some of the world's poorest areas could be displaced by climate change in just a few decades, the World Bank has warned in a report.
  • The New York Times reported that Mexicans who spent much of their lives in the United States can feel lost and scared when they return to Mexico, either voluntarily or by force. But a growing network of community groups eases the transition.
  • Medium featured the story of Clemantine Wamariya, who at age six fled with her sister to escape the Rwandan massacre and spent seven years as a refugee. She and her sister were resettled to the US with IOM’s assistance.


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