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To Change My Life - Risk perception, expectations and migration experiences of young Ethiopians migrating along the Eastern Route toward the Arabian Peninsula - Final report: Obock, Djibouti (April 2021)

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● Economic factors are the main driver of young Ethiopian migration, with nearly all migrants in the qualitative and quantitative sample reporting that their migration was primarily economically driven.

● Unemployment stands out as a key economic driver, with less than one in four migrants reporting that they had an income in Ethiopia prior to migration, and median monthly incomes at around 1,750 Ethiopian Birrs (ETB), that is, approximately 53 United States dollars (USD).

● Low, intermittent, and/or insufficient wages in Ethiopia stood out as a strong economic driver amongst respondents who were working in Ethiopia: less than half of the participants who had an income prior to migration reported that their income was sufficient to meet their basic needs.

● One third of migrants reported that their households occasionally exercise severe food-related coping strategies such as skipping meals or reducing portion sizes.

● Land-related factors such as land shortages, land fragmentation, land depletion, soil erosion and weather-related shocks can be strong, secondary drivers pushing migrants whose households rely heavily on agriculture into economic vulnerability and migration.

● One in four surveyed migrants reported having migrated internally in search of employment before embarking on international migration journeys, yet most reported they had been unable to achieve their aspirations through internal migration due to a lack of job opportunities or access to employment networks, low wages and prohibitive living costs in urban centres, dwarfing earned income.

● Unlike previous research, this study found that rather than devaluing education, most participants held educational achievement in high regard. Although many research participants did drop out of school prematurely to help provide for their families, this was, in most cases, not because they perceived education as a poor way to build a future in Ethiopia but because of financial and other barriers preventing them from staying in school.

● Most participants have high expectations of the outcome of their journeys and the benefits of migrating to the KSA, with the expected median income of first-time migrants around 450 USD and more than seven times the median income reported in Ethiopia.

● Migration success stories play an influencing role in promoting Eastern Corridor migration and many migrants view migration as central to the development they are witnessing in their communities of origin.

● Difficult return environments including stigma and difficulties re-integrating could be pushing some returnees to re-migrate quickly.

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