The IOM Kenya has been a partner of the Government of Kenya in addressing various migration related challenges and concerns. In line with this partnership, from 28 July to 3 August 2018, IOM supported Kenya’s National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to attend a Benchmarking Study Visit to the State of Israel. The study visit was part of the Better Migration Management programme (BMM). The primary objective of this visit was to exchange best practice and learn how Israel has succeeded in engaging its Diaspora. The State of Israel has an elaborate diaspora policy, including their return and reintegration.
BMM aims to improve migration management in the region, and in particular to address the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa. The programme is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It was developed as response to the needs identified by the African countries of the Khartoum Process.
Therefore, BMM is supporting the governments in the Horn of Africa to strengthen national governments in pursuing a whole-of-government approach to migration governance. Diaspora engagement is identified as one of the key element of the Kenya Migration Policy (currently draft) and capacity building on diaspora engagement will contribute to better migration management.
The Kenya delegation was led by Dr. Dan Opon from the NCM Secretariat and accompanied by the NCM Secretariat Members, officials from the Diaspora and Consular Affairs (MFA), and IOM Kenya staff. The study visit highlighted the following learnings:
- the approaches Israel has adopted, including effective policies that address and engage with Diaspora;
- how Israel taps into the potential and influence of its Diaspora to spur development in Israel;
- how they promote and protect the Interest of its Nationals Abroad;
- strategies the Government uses to support to its vulnerable emigrants;
- the mechanisms used to integrate and reintegrate diaspora immigrants and returnees;
- their strategies counter- trafficking in persons.
The Kenyan delegation had extensive meetings with respective Government counterparts including Mr. Avraham Naguse, Member of Knesset (Parliament), MR. Jacob Bacon, Special Advisor to the Chief Executive, Israel Birthright Programme, Head and Chief Executive, Mr. Yogan Karasenty, Director of Combating Anti- Semitism, Mr. Alex Kushnir, Director General, Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Mr. Akiva Tov, Head of the Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions, and the Kenya Chargè d’Affaires in Tel Aviv.
The Kenyan delegation highly appreciated the policies, approaches and the contributions of the diaspora in the development of the State of Israel as well as the extensive support the Government offers to its diaspora. The delegation established key recommendations and potential areas of action in addressing Diaspora issues, challenges and facilitation in order to achieve positive dialogue and contributions by the Kenya Diaspora. Among which are: the Government of Kenya to consider establishing a program for Kenyan Diaspora who can be engaged as connectors of foreign businesses and investments for the country; to develop clear structures within government for the purpose of absorption or reintegration of Diaspora returnees at the county and sub-county levels; and the National Counter-Trafficking in Persons Committee to link up with the Israeli Anti-Trafficking unit for collaboration and exchange of information and best practices.
BMM is active in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The programme is implemented by a partnership of European and international organisations (British Council, CIVIPOL, Expertise France, GIZ, Italian Department of Public Security, IOM, UNODC) in four components: Policy and harmonization, capacity building, protection, and awareness-raising.