Studies, Reviews and Research

Young and on the Move: Children and youth in mixed migration flows within and from the Horn of Africa

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RMMS, Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat,Save the Children

The purpose of this study is to provide an updated overview of children and youth as specific (albeit non-homogenous) groups in mixed migration flows within, through and from the Horn of Africa. The report does not purport to be exhaustive, but rather to act as a preliminary study which identifies some of the key trends, characteristics, issues and response mechanisms available, in order to contribute to future programme design and to identify areas that would benefit from further enquiry and attention.

Although data is highly fragmented for children and youth on the move in the Horn of Africa, the numbers that are available suggest that the numbers of children overall, and of those travelling independently of adult family members, is on the increase. In line with global trends, mixed migration in the Horn of Africa has increased in volume and this, coupled with the characteristic youth bulge in many of the Horn of Africa countries, translates into an increase in absolute numbers of children and youth involved in migration. Almost half of the international migrants in the Horn of Africa are under the age of 20, and children are usually the majority within forcibly displaced populations in the region.

This report presents a number of key recommendations for organisations aiming to protect children and youth on the move within and from the Horn of Africa, including the need for comprehensive strategies that consider both the vulnerabilities and threats that impact these groups. Among these recommendations, supporting the development of sex and age disaggregated data in migration and displacement monitoring, and supporting further research addressing youth as a specific target group within mixed migration could help greatly to identify patterns, and design more efficient programmes. The report also highlights the importance of strengthened coordination and partnerships to connect responses to mixed migration between areas of origin, transit and destination, and to link humanitarian and development programming to reduce and mitigate the risks of unsafe migration.

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