Operational in Somalia since 2006, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has set a strong record on the delivery of humanitarian services to crisis-affected populations, while steadily developing models and partnerships for longer term recovery and migration governance.

To address overall migration challenges in Somalia, IOM works closely with the Federal Government of Somalia, regional authorities, the UN, donor governments and civil society by implementing programmes through three pillars: 

  1. Emergency and post-crisis
  2. Transition and Recovery
  3. Migration governance and development. 

With over 550 staff, IOM Somalia operates from its head office in Mogadishu, seven field offices and eight satellite offices, as well as the Nairobi Support Office in Kenya.

IOM Somalia falls under the Organization’s Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi and supports the regional goal to contribute to effective, flexible and comprehensive migration management solutions, in partnership with states, regional institutions, international agencies, communities and migrants.

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IOM Somalia operations aim to contribute to a stronger, more resilient Somalia through an effective and principles approach to migration, displacement, peace building and the development of strategic partnerships.

To learn more about our work and impact across the country, read our Annual Updates:

2021 Annual Update
2020 Annual Update
2019 Annual Update

Migration in Somalia

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia, characterized by both natural and man-made factors, is one of the most complex and longstanding emergencies in the world due to decades of poverty, marginalization, armed violence, insecurity, political instability, natural hazards, and lack of development. 

Recurrent climatic shocks have devastated Somali communities and continue to drive displacement, while ongoing conflict impacts protection and human rights, reduces resilience, and hinders access to basic services. 

Somalia is also a key source, transit and, to some extent, destination country for irregular migratory flows due to porous borders, including one of the largest sea borders in Africa. Every year, thousands of Somalis make hazardous journeys along regional migration routes and are exposed to severe protection risks. 

Somalia’s main migration patterns

  • Forced migration: due to conflicts and natural disasters resulting in internal displacement and refugee outflows. 
  • Irregular migration: due to poverty and limited livelihood options often resulting in smuggling of migrants and human trafficking. 
  • Mixed migration: the use of one migration route by several different groups of migrants, including asylum seekers, economic migrants, smuggled migrants and victims of trafficking. 
  • Traditional and cross-border migration: linked to nomadic cross-border movement and primarily a survival strategy for pastoralists seeking pasture and cross-border trade in the region.
  • Labour migration: defined as the movement of persons from their home State to another State for the purpose of employment.

IOM's A Region on the Move Report 2020

IOM's A Region on the Move — Mid-year mobility overview (January to June 2021)

Mission Strategy 2019-2021

In 2019, IOM launched the IOM’s 2019-2021 country strategy for Somalia in coordination with the Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development (MoPIED). The main goal of the strategic plan is to contribute to a stronger, more resilient Somalia through an effective and principles approach to migration and displacement matters, and the development of strategic partnerships. The strategy is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and is based on three main pillars: 

  • Humanitarian Response; 
  • Recovery and Durable Solutions; 
  • Migration Governance and Development. 

IOM works closely with MoPIED in Somalia to implement the strategy and provide support to the government and the Somali people to advance peace, stability and development.