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Migration, health and dignity in South Asia

Briefing/policy paper

Written by David Walker

Briefing/policy paper

​The EMPHASIS project has provided a diverse range of services to cross-border migrants in India, Nepal and Bangladesh over the past five years. From August 2009 to September 2014, the project, the only one of its kind in South Asia, adopted a comprehensive model to reach migrants across the mobility continuum (at source, during transit and at destination). The project, supported by The BIG Lottery Fund, UK, was designed to address vulnerabilities of cross-border migrants. The project was implemented through respective CARE country offices working with implementing partners in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Key findings from the research show that:

  • reaching cross-border migrants with information in their home countries and at their destinations can lead to safer mobility and positive health outcomes.       
  • creating an environment that safeguards the rights of migrants and ensures access to services, requires the enlistment of diverse stakeholders to create and maintain a chain of partnership across migration corridors.
  • support for men’s and women’s solidarity groups across the mobility continuum can result in additional outcomes, including women’s political and economic empowerment, and a reduction in gender-based violence.
  • health programming across borders and migration corridors – in South Asia and elsewhere – requires a robust and flexible monitoring system that is closely coordinated by all stakeholders and partners.
  • programmes for cross-border migrants need to be open to grassroots feedback so that they can be adapted to changing circumstances and local needs.
  • global stakeholders have a critical role to play in extracting and amplifying the core lessons gleaned from the EMPHASIS project, including re-thinking implementation methods for new or existing cross-border initiatives.
David Walker, Nabesh Bohidar and Prabodh Devkota