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IOM says digital ID deal paying off for Ethiopian returnees

IOM says digital ID deal paying off for Ethiopian returnees

A partnership between the National ID Program of Ethiopia (NIDP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to ease the burden of acquiring legal and digital ID by vulnerable returnees to the country is said to be yielding palpable fruits.

According to a press release, the partnership which sets the tone for both parties to work on ways of facilitating the obtention of the biometrics-based Fayda digital ID, has not only enabled the safe return of thousands of Ethiopians, it has also made it possible for them to have access to important re-integration services.

The partnership allows NIDP and the IOM to work on different areas including simplifying access to ID, ensuring data protection, and promoting inclusion activities aimed at guaranteeing accessibility, enrollment, verification, and authentication processes by NIDP.

Already in the past couple of weeks, the IOM says that it has assisted in ensuring that over a thousand Ethiopians who returned from Djibouti, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen have access to vital services using the digital ID.

This has been possible thanks to the collaboration of other stakeholders such as the Disaster Risk Management Commission (DMRC) and Ministry of Women and Social Affairs.

The UN agency adds that since January, it has also helped 8,800 returning Ethiopians access assistance through Assisted Voluntary and Reintegration and Voluntary Humanitarian Return (AVR/VHR) programs.

“Vulnerable people have difficulty accessing basic socio-economic rights and necessities due to the absence of legal identification,” says IOM Chief of Mission for Ethiopia Abibatou Wane. “This partnership enhances access to national digital ID for migrants, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and affected communities.”

“The NIDP plans to provide digital IDs to 90 million citizens and residents by 2026 including migrant returnees, IDPs, and other vulnerable groups for better access to necessary services. We are working towards making identity-enhanced mobility work,” says NIDP Executive Director Yodahe Zemichael.

The IOM says apart from NIDP, it also has a working relationship with other Ethiopian government services especially in the area of integrated border management where it facilitates cross border movements for migrants, especially returnees.

In early October, NIDP penned a tripartite deal which involved the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to issue digital ID to refugees in Ethiopia to better their living conditions.

Later same month, the ID authority entered into another partnership with UNICEF to facilitate digital ID enrolment, including for children.

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