Integration of Migration – Embracing the Newcomers

By: Emily Akullu, one of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders and Deputy Resident District Commissioner from Uganda; originally posted at Conversations for a Better World

Ongoing migration is a reality. The goal is not to end migration, but to value, respect and integrate the people who leave their homes in search of resources and safety.

Hello everyone. My name is Emily Akullu, and I work for Office of the President Uganda as Deputy Resident District Commissioner. I’m here to coordinate this discussion with young readers and those who love them. I will, in conjunction with other experts, be waiting to answer any questions that have been haunting you concerning migration. It will be my pleasure to see your side of the coin.

Migration defined

Human migration is the physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Migration could be internal or external, national or international, later termed as immigration and emigration depending on the direction of trek.

Living with it

Migration has existed, with all its pros and cons, through centuries and centuries. It will likely continue to exist, as it is sometimes totally unavoidable. But how can we make it a fair deal, more bearable in instances where one cannot avoid it or otherwise control it? We can agree to the fact that these migrants can contribute to development!

So many conferences focusing on migration have been held at national, continental and global levels. But unfortunately, none of them has ever looked specifically at how to live with the fact that migration will always be there. They usually look at ways of reducing migration instead of how they can make migration and a migrant’s life more bearable. Look at the Libyan conference on migration (2009); all the 30 ways forward focused on the former. It is important to find ways to reduce migration where possible, but in addition, we also need to make real commitments and take significant steps to help the struggles inherent to migration. It’s also important to note that the most affected here are the youth, women and children.

Should it continue this way?

A family is thrown out (through corrupt court bailiffs) on grounds that they don’t belong where they are simply because they are suspected to have come from elsewhere. For about a week, the family had taken refuge in an unfinished school building until the local authority came in. On the extreme right is the District Police Commander, Busia district.

Can the fate of migrants ever change?

But why not? This dream could come true if we share our opinions, take advantage of platforms like this, and hold forums like the forthcoming World Youth Conference scheduled for the 23rd to 28th, August 2010.

I work at the border district of Busia, Uganda, a district that stands in between Uganda and Kenya (East Africa). From what I have experienced, I know that we can control both internal and external migration, but the question is, should we achieve this at the extreme expense of the helpless migrants? We need to prepare ourselves to accept and live with the realities of migration.

Share your ideas and participate

Your view is important to us. You may not have gotten an opportunity to be at the World Youth Conference physically, but you can engage in this blog discussion and your opinion will be heard.
Questions on migration:

  • Are our current attitudes towards and actions involving migrants “evil”?
  • What are some of the push and pull factors that see young people on their heels to other destinations distant from their places of origin?
  • Studies have shown that young migrants have often turned into drug traffickers/abusers, commercial sex workers and drunkards. Many get infected with HIV/AIDS, some are deported, while others end up in prisons or become potential recruits of terrorists’ camps. What, in your view, could explain all these?
  • Is there a little chance that young migrants are contributing positively to the development of the whole world? Answer this by thinking about the benefit they provide to their home countries and the host countries accruing wealth from their sweat. If so, how can they be helped to contribute even more?

It’s my pleasure to host you, and I will be here to answer all your questions. Your comment is important to the usefulness of the whole blog post. I’m looking forward to your response! Join the conversation here.

Entry Comments

    • Aug 24
    • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Hi Emily,

    Im a new comer here, a friend just inform me about WOMEN DELIVERS website and what interest me most of your blog on migration.

    Im the Executive Director of the Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. based in Davao City Philippines. Our work encircles around migration—policy development and campaign, public information and media, research development and publication, and direct service for distress and families of migrant workers.

    If I may contribute, yes in the Philippines overseas migration is the country’s program of survival. The government is in awkward positioning of owning migration as her principal economic strategies of development but programs of overseas deployment of OFWs speaks clearly of her priorities and thrust.

    Our organization are not at all in opposition to overseas migration as we respect the right of peoples to travel and seek employment, her right to development . What we are heeding in our work is to continuously challenge our government in protecting and proving welfare support of our migrant workers in all stages of migration sphere – pre-deployment, onsite and reintegration.  I wont enumerate all the lamentation of our migrant workers as I may undermine the suffering they made, also i wont try to appreciate as we all know that they have contributed a lot to the development of their own families, communities and the country as a whole.

    To your blog questions,
    •  In the Philippines ,  overseas migration population volume is pegged at 10.3million more or less 10% of the country’s population, 70%+ are women in productive age. I wont speak of EVIL as overseas migration has always comes in both . If our government program looks up migration as development phenomenon then she had made it her priority program for protection, welfare and assistance.
    •  Principally the push and pull factors pointed at poverty conditions that lured our peoples to work overseas.  This is not simply an option for greener pastures but for SURVIVAL, as opportunities for development are scarce if not absent.  There is a phenomenon of culture of migration,  migration mentality is vastly spreading even grade school students dreamed to become a domestic worker abroad after schooling.  We are in a bizarre situation of modeling our generation to serve other people, leaving behind an empty Philippines.
    •  Your number 3 question are just a few of the lamentation mentioned, pls count that there are also deaths and killings happening aside from suicide acts to escape from abusive employers.  Yes trafficking , illegally recruited migrants are dominantly monopolize by women, based on our work documentation a percentage count of 80-20 are women. The issue of HIV AIDS is still a haunting phenomena with seafarers as the top rank, and lately domestic workers. Surprising to note that domestic ranks 2nd why not sex workers or others. Accounts of rape, sexual molestation and prostitution even in highly conservative countries are realities at hand. Run away domestic workers who escaped from their abusive employers resorted to these activities to survive and still continue to send remittance for their families and the country. Forgive my ignorance of migrant workers being recruited by terrorist camps, Maybe but I did not hear much about these in reality.
    •  MIGRANT WORKERS are not just contributing a little to this whole world’s development. They are entirely investing their total resource even their own future. There sacrifices are surmountable and boundless.  First all people should realize that our migrant workers are human beings and that they have rights as any human being have. Thus they should be afforded with respect, protection and welfare support to include their families. Government should work for bilateral agreements with host countries for these protection and welfare issues and on practice bear its STRONG POLITICAL WILL to address issues for its migrant workers .  Civil society organization should continue its advocacy actions, mainstream that MIGRANT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS and SERIOUSLY work to build an informed public on mitigating migration phenomenon to include organizing their families and communities to support the agenda of migrant workers.

    Emily Im sorry if I made it long. Im just too interested with your topic. Im looking forward to do an exchange on this regard. Good spirit to us all.

    Executive Director
    Mindanao Migrant Center for Empowering Actions, Inc (MMCEAI)
    Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines

  1. Dear Enorisa, let me first of all start by thanking you for that beautiful and very well explained reaction and also say to you that on this blog page, you are allowed to express your self to the fullest, so you should never be scared of the length of your text. Also, any plans for exchange is welcome.

    I must say that yes, in most cases, people look at what they can get from migrants only,not caring about how they are able to achieve their expected output. In uganda, we currently have the issue of Security guards in Iraque, which was tabled in parliament and government was able to respond positively as to after flight, what next, can we be able to follow up their welfare. I think it would have been wonderful if our home governments were able to follow up the fates of our migrant worker up to their last destinatios.

    Your organisation seems to be doing so much in this area and at once, I want to believe that you are the right person to reign on the matter with the power given t you by the NGO board.

    Please continue to do your best as the struggle continues and we shall all be so proud of you, but above all, alway keep us posted about your progress.

    All the best

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