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IOM lifts Lesotho migration flag high

Head of IOM office in Lesotho Eriko Nishimura

March 17, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

HEAD of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Lesotho, Eriko Nishimura says the launch of the socio economic reintegration of returnees and other vulnerable households in migration affected areas impacted by COVID-19 pandemic project, will enable them to address the root cause which was the push factor for irregular migration.

The project was launched in Maseru on March 15 and is anticipated that it can transform people’s lives in a powerful way if this pilot project goes well in Lesotho.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Nishimura said the challenges have always been lack of choice for poor households.

“There is no choice for the poor and desperate household because they have no money to do business, they have no skills and they have low education level, and there are no jobs in Lesotho,” she noted.

She said otherwise, through their sensitisation programme, they could not have addressed the root causes of the problem.

She strongly believes the project will bring a sustainable and progressive development of the young returnees, and other vulnerable youth in target districts.  

IOM she noted is committed to working with Lesotho and other relevant partners to ensure that the project is meaningful, brings transformative changes to the deserving beneficiaries and facilitates reintegration of the returnees and other vulnerable groups in migration affected communities in the country.

For his part, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Matela Thabane said the Social Security scheme for the workers is long overdue.

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“If we had the scheme in place at the onset of COVID 19 pandemic, the difficulties that we are currently experiencing would have been easily avoided as formal and informal workers as well migrant workers would have been included in the scheme,” he said.

One other major migration theme that needs to be elevated to the highest level, Mr Thabane said is internal migration if all are really serious about return and reintegration matters.

He said at the moment, Lesotho does not have a clear programme on how to deal with internal migration.

Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Social Development ’Matebatso Doti said the COVID-19 pandemic and influx of Basotho migrant workers coming back home last year was a wake-up call that Lesotho should manage migration better.

Mrs Doti said if returnees continue to suffer from unemployment and lack of income generating activities in Lesotho, irregular migration will increase and expose Basotho youth who are desperate for jobs to labour abuse and criminal networks such as human traffickers as well as smugglers.




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