Exploring Potential Intervention Strategies to Reduce Unsafe Youth Migration in Ethiopia: a Mixed Methods Study


There is dearth of evidence on what interventions help to reduce unsafe youth migration in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed primarily to identify interventions that may help to reduce unsafe youth migration from the perspectives of key stakeholders in Ethiopia. A mixed methods study was conducted in eight migration hotspot areas. For the qualitative study, fifty-six in-depth interviews and thirty-two focus group discussions (FGD) were done to collect data. Quantitative data were collected from students (n = 800), teachers (n = 240), and parents (n = 160). We developed a structured questionnaire to collect data. Descriptive statistics, t test and one-way analysis of variance were used to analyze the data. We identified potential interventions to reduce unsafe youth migration and grouped them into five domains: awareness and attitudinal/behavioral changes, training and job opportunities, enhancing governmental and parental roles, improving the education system, and law enforcement and migration management. More than 80% of the survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the interventions identified are potentially relevant and effective. Respondents who are older compared to those who are younger and respondents who are more educated compared to those who are less educated were more likely to endorse the interventions. Teachers and parents were more likely than students to endorse the interventions. The study indicates that the qualitative study helped to identify contextually relevant intervention strategies that would potentially be effective to reduce unsafe youth migration in Ethiopia. We suggest that there is a need to prioritize and empirically test the effectiveness of these intervention strategies with experimental studies.

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Data Availability

This study is part of a larger thematic research project. Data used for this analysis will become available through the project.


  1. 1.

    The topic guide is designed for the migration sub-theme of a larger thematic research project. Responses given to questions related to interventions to reduce unsafe youth migration are analyzed for this paper.



focus group discussion


International Labor Organization


Ministry of Education


Parent-Teacher-Student Association


Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences


Technical and vocational education and training


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We are grateful to all the participants for giving their time and the data. We would like to thank the officials in all the study sites for the support they provided to us. We would also like to acknowledge Addis Ababa University for funding.


This study was funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, Addis Ababa University.

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Correspondence to Kassahun Habtamu.

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Annexure I: Questionnaire


Annexure II: Topic guide (in-depth interview and focus group discussion)

Migration-related questionsFootnote 1

  1. 1.

    What do you understand by unsafe youth migration and what are the indicators of unsafe youth migration?

  2. 2.

    How do you evaluate the prevalence of unsafe youth migration in your locality?

  • In terms of magnitude and severity (riskiness)

  • What proportion of the youth in your community do you think is migrating or planning to migrate through illegal means?

  1. 3.

    What are the push and pull factors contributing to youth migration in this locality?

  • Unemployment

  • School dropout and failure

  • Poverty

  • Family pressure

  • Peer pressure

  • Better income abroad

  • Seeing some successful migrants

  1. 4.

    Who are more vulnerable to unsafe migration? Why?

  • Male or female

  • Youth or adult

  • Educated or uneducated

  • Rural or urban

  • Rich or poor

  1. 5.

    In what ways do you think are young men (boys) and young women (girls) differently vulnerable to unsafe migration

  2. 6.

    In your opinion, what are the positive and negative consequences of migration?

  • Male/female

  • Youth/adult

  • Educated/uneducated

  • Communication and relationship among family members

  • Economic, social, cultural and health conditions

  1. 7.

    In your view, what shall be done to reduce unsafe youth migration?

  • At the national (or policy) level

  • At the regional level

  • At the school level?

  • At local community level

  • At the family level

  • Individual level

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Habtamu, K., Minaye, A., Admas, F. et al. Exploring Potential Intervention Strategies to Reduce Unsafe Youth Migration in Ethiopia: a Mixed Methods Study. Int. Migration & Integration (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-021-00803-7

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  • Unsafe youth migration
  • Illegal migration
  • Intervention strategies
  • Migration outcomes
  • Mixed methods study
  • Ethiopia