MASERU – The Japanese government will provide support for the reintegration of Basotho returnees affected by COVID-19 and other vulnerable members in migration affected areas of the country.
The project, named the ‘’Socio-Economic Reintegration of Returnees and other vulnerable members in migration affected areas severely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic’’, will be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a UN migration agency, for 12 months from March 2021.
IOM has been advocating for the adoption of sustainability-oriented reintegration policies that respond to the economic, social and psychosocial needs of returning migrants while also benefiting communities of origin and addressing structural challenges to reintegration.
In the project, IOM intends to apply part of the reintegration assistance modality which proved to be effective and productive based on the global IOM Reintegration project which will be modified and tailored to the Lesotho context and the urgent needs of returnees pressured by continuous challenges of COVID-19.
Emerging issues from Lesotho, based on the assessment of between May and June 2020, have revealed that a large number of Basotho stranded in neighbouring South Africa out of desperation, and most came returned home through illegally crossing the bordering Mohokare River. The returnees have no jobs, no money and have lost their livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“IOM is committed to bring changes to the lives of people in Lesotho – in particularly returnees and other vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. We also implement community development activities in migration affected area which can economically support returnees and host communities while facilitate social cohesion.’’ Eriko Nishimura, Head of Office of IOM Lesotho has said.
These activities are designed to improve beneficiaries’ livelihoods through maximizing income-generating opportunities and enhancing their living conditions while addressing the returnees’ immediate needs to restore their livelihoods and ensure their safety from being infected/affected by COVID-19.
This project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Disaster Management Authority, among others.