The Cities and Migration programme is engaging in nine pilot cities across four countries in the Horn of Africa, Northern Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. 


A School in Arua Camp in Uganda

Urbanisation is real and migration is real. People flock from villages to towns, people come intentionally and unintentionally. But governments know little about how many people are coming. The issue of data is very key in planning for these people.

Ms Sarah Nandudu, Slum Dwellers Federation, Uganda 




Women walking, Ethiopia


Adama: Improving the Reception, Management and Integration of Rural-Urban Migrants with a Registration Scheme, Resource Centre, Networking, and Infrastructure Development

Objective: To enhance the Adama city administration’s capacity to respond to migration.

Activities: Registration and resource centres to help the city collect information on migrants and give them guidance on available services; a networking group to create the space for discussion and cooperation among all stakeholders; and basic infrastructure development in migrant settlements to improve their living standards and economic opportunities. 

Partners: The Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) and the Adama City Level, Labour and Social Affairs Office. 


  • Registration and resource centres. A city-level centre is up and running with staff in offices at the Adama Municipality. The city decided to finance six sub-city level desks to cover the entire city, instead of the original three. So far, 700 migrants have registered and received services from the resource centres. The Adama Industrial Park and the Healthy Adama Company are partnering with the centres and offering jobs to IDPs. 
  • The Adama City Migrants Network Forum launched.  21 stakeholders gathered to discuss challenges and opportunities arising from rural-urban migration and leveraging opportunities for IDPs. Participants agreed to meet every six months. Two awareness-raising panel discussions on cities and migration were also held.
  • Healthcare for IDPs. On 1 May, an MoU was signed with the Ethiopian Family Guidance Association to provide basic healthcare services to migrants and IDPs in Adama. The Adama Model Clinic was launched in mid-2020, and 14 female and male IDPs were recruited and trained as health workers. The clinic also provided hygiene advice at IDP sites to combat COVID-19.
  • Land for two markets. The project reached an agreement with the Adama city administration to formally provide land for two market centres. Cities Alliance is working to ensure internationally accepted safeguards. A complete design for a shaded market has been prepared, and the procurement process to recruit the construction company is almost finalized.

Duration: December 2019 – November 2021


Jigjiga: Diaspora Engagement for City Development: Institutionalising the Concept of Migration and Development into Plans and Actions

Objective: To help the Ethiopian Somali regional and local governments to mainstream diaspora engagement in policies, development plans, and approaches to better leverage the important role the diaspora plays in local development.

Activities: A comprehensive profile of the diaspora, strategies for engagement, and capacity building for local governments to implement the strategies. 

Partners: Jigjiga University and the Regional Investment and Diaspora Affairs Bureau of the Regional Government Council of the Ethiopian Somali Region.


  • Profile of the Ethiopian Somali diaspora. Postponed due to COVID-19, Jigjiga University began research and consultations on establishing a database of the diaspora, with technical expertise from Cities Alliance to safeguard international data policy standards. The project has also conducted research on the positive and negative consequences of remittances and their impact on inducing further migration.
  • Diaspora engagement strategy.  A strategy was prepared to engage the diaspora in development planning using an extensive participatory consultation process, the diaspora engagement analysis, and close collaboration with the Regional Diaspora and Investment Bureau (RDIB) and Jigjiga City Administration (JCA). A validation workshop gathered stakeholders to discuss respective roles and responsibilities for implementation and sign partnership agreements.
  • Dedicated diaspora offices. Locations for three operational diaspora coordination offices at JJU, Jigjiga City Administration and the regional diaspora office have been identified and office equipment provided. Guidelines for their use are currently being developed.
  • Cities and Migration conference postponed. Cities Alliance and JJU, with support of the SDC GPMD and SDC country offices, prepared an international conference on Cities, Migration and Development in early April 2020. The conference was postponed due to COVID-19 and has been rescheduled for April 2021 to coincide with the Somali Cities Study Conference.

Duration:  November 2019 – November 2021.


State of informal settlements in Kenya.jpg


Kakuma-Kalobeyei: Sustainable Economic Development Along the Turkana West Development Corridor Through Enhanced Connectivity

Objective: To improve connectivity and networks that enable businesses, local governments and individuals to gain access to a wider choice of goods, finance, employment, and investment opportunities, leading to a sustainable local economy in the region. 

Activities: Organising development forums for cities along a major Kenyan transport corridor, expanding a network of cities for knowledge exchange and cooperation, establishing an Economic Enterprise Zone to promote the local economy, building hard and soft infrastructure to support a city network, and strengthening capacity at the local level to integrate migration into city development.

Partners: UN-Habitat;  the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development; the Turkana County Government; the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPPSET) Corridor Development Authority; and the Refugee Affairs Secretariat. 


  • Engaging stakeholder planning for the Kakuma-Kalobeyei corridor. The project organized consultative meetings for local leaders in Turkana West subcounty and the host community to get community-wide consent to use the land for development of the corridor. Other activities included bi-weekly virtual technical planning meetings and a stakeholder mapping of the county. Over 150 community members have been engaged in the initial project inception and allocation of land for the corridor plan.
  • Planning for an Economic Enterprise Zone (EEZ) in Turkana County. In October 2020, two surveys were completed, covering 346 households and 283 businesses from Turkana West (both refugees and the host community). Interviews and focus groups were held and spatial profiling and settlement/market mapping organized for Kakuma, Kalobeyei, and Lokichoggio. The project team is providing technical advice for the planning and infrastructure of the EEZ, and the government has agreed that it will include a waste management and parking facility. 
  • Identifying investment projects for the corridor. The project began engaging with local associations and communities identified through multi-stakeholder meetings with refugees and the host community. It has undertaken a desk review and developed a concept note and draft feasibility study for potential investment.
  • Capacity building. These activities were delayed due to COVID-19 and are scheduled for implementation as soon as restrictions ease. The first capacity development session was scheduled for December 2020.

Check out these related articles about the project:

Duration: November 2019 – November 2021.


Women in a market in Arua, Uganda


Arua: Strengthening Mechanisms for Receiving, Managing and Integrating Involuntary Migrants Within the Arua Municipal Council

Objective: To strengthen the structural and institutional mechanisms for reception, management and integration of involuntary migrants in Arua Municipal Council. 

Activities: Collecting accurate data on Arua Municipality’s population to inform planning; using mechanisms such as municipal and division development forums to promote dialogue and build capacity among all stakeholders; and partnering with financial institutions to help migrants and host communities become more self-reliant and improve their livelihoods.

Partners: AVSI Foundation, Arua Municipal Council,  and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.


  • Census of urban refugees. The project pioneered a collaboration between the local government and the Central Bureau of Statistics to enumerate urban refugees. Almost all of the 13,000 targeted households were enumerated in 2020; 30 enumerators went door-to-door to collect data using tablets and transmitting the statistics directly to the online Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) information system.
  • City development forum. The project expanded the municipal forum to Arua’s two sub-divisions, Arua Hill and Oli River, which held dialogues throughout the second half of 2020. Since Arua now has city status, the municipal and division-level fora have been merged into a  City Development Forum.
  • Training centre for youth migrants. As part of a community upgrading initiative, an unoccupied building was rehabilitated and turned into an ITC training centre for youth migrants and the host community. If financially viable, the project will be undertaken in partnership with the Arua City Council.
  • Financial inclusion for the vulnerable. The project is partnering with selected banks (Opportunity Bank and Ensibuuko) to pilot a formal financial inclusion approach for vulnerable migrants and the host community. The census tool included a community vulnerability assessment questionnaire to capture the financial vulnerability levels of migrants and host communities. The report is currently being finalized and will inform the financial inclusion approach implemented in 2021.

Duration: December 2019 – November 2021. 

Jinja: Strengthening Capacity for Urban Migration Management and Improving Migrant Livelihoods in Jinja City, Uganda

Objective: To build knowledge on rural-urban migration in Jinja and its effects on poor host communities. 

Activities: Designing and implementing a participatory migration management strategy that focuses on the economic inclusion of poor migrant and non-migrant households through financial inclusion and investment in viable enterprises, asset building, housing upgrading, and access to basic urban infrastructure, utilities and services.

Partners: The Jinja Municipal City Council, Makerere University, and the slum dweller organisation ACTogether.


  • Urban migration profile of Jinja. A baseline study of Jinja’s urban poor identified high poverty rates, limited access to basic and support services, and a low level of trust in the city administration and community organizations. It also found that COVID-19 has had a major impact on the poor. 
  • Web portal for knowledge sharing. A web portal has been designed that will serve as a repository of knowledge products for information sharing on best practices and project updates, as well as e-learning on financial inclusion and inclusive migration management among city stakeholders.
  • Mechanisms for participatory city migration management. An assessment by Makerere University found that Jinja City Council has limited capacities to effectively include the urban poor in programmes and decision making. An annual national urban migration forum and biannual city and division workshops are being prepared that will bring all stakeholders together to develop a shared vision for how the city should manage migration. 
  • Financial inclusion for migrants. A manual for the Jinja Community Development Fund has been prepared through an extensive and participatory process. It outlines the objectives and procedures on loan eligibility, application, and fund management. A training toolkit for improving saving group members’ capacities to participate and benefit from the CDF was also drafted. 
  • Gender-sensitive upgrading. A partnership agreement with a financial institution for a gender-sensitive community housing upgrading scheme was signed with co-financing from Jinja City Council that will benefit 2,000 slum dwellers, both migrants and long-term residents.

Duration:  December 2019 – November 2021. 



Tunisia_Gender_Equality_Credits_Flickr_Cities Alliance


Jendouba and Kairouan: Promoting Responsible Tourism for Better Economic, Social and Cultural Integration of Migrants 

Objective: To enable the city stakeholders to work together to receive, manage, and integrate labour migrants and, at the same time, promote responsible tourism in both cities. 

Activities: Training and guiding young labour migrants through tourism-related activities to improve their economic situations; and establishing an urban forum and dialogues at the regional and national levels to inform city-wide strategies to integrate labour migration into local policies.

Partners: The National Union of Tunisian Women in Kairouan and the Association of Women, Youth and Children in Jendouba, in collaboration with the tourism sector. 


  • Training for jobs in tourism for migrant youths. 118 youth (81 in Kairouan and 37 in Jendouba, 65% of them women) submitted proposals for small entrepreneurial projects. 60 were funded through the project, and the rest via the state employment agency and other micro-finance programmes. A five-day training took place in July and August, and next step is onsite support to guide the youth in creating and managing their own tourism agency (pending COVID-19 travel restrictions).
  • Sites for eco-tourism circuits. Seven sites and itineraries (four in Jendouba and three in Kairouan) were identified and mapped out with the Regional Office for Tourism in Kairouan. The collaboration led the National Office for Tourism to develop the identified tourism circuits in three communes (Ain Jeloula, Oueslatia and Haffouz) as part of a new $7.5 million programme. The site analysis has also informed development of a multi-stakeholder territorial marketing strategy.
  • Dialogue fora. Both cities set up a multi-stakeholder steering committee. A virtual policy dialogue on the Global Compact on Migration took place in November with 40 city stakeholders from Jendouba and Kairouan participating. Project partners have initiated preparations for the city forums that were postponed to January 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Duration: December 2019 – November 2021



Aerial view of Antigua Guatemala at sunrise with volcanoes


Amatitlán: Amatitlán Includes You: Reception, Management and Integration of Labour Migrants in the City

Objective: To integrate the management of labour migration into the city’s plans for sustainable territorial development. 

Activities: Building the capacity of local authorities to capitalise on the opportunities of labour migration; developing municipal government mechanisms so that city stakeholders can build partnerships, engage in participatory dialogue, and establish a shared vision for their city; and producing analysis to help the city develop a labour integration strategy.

Partners: The AVINA Foundation, the Municipality of Amatitlán, and the Municipal Development Council (COMUDE).


  • Capacity building workshops. With in-person activities not permitted in Amatitlán, the project team worked on designing the activities and a strategy to deliver virtual training in July and August. Three capacity-building workshops were carried out with municipal staff, public institutions, and community actors to further understand labour migration in Guatemala. Content has been designed for a training programme on territory management and incorporation of migration in urban planning.
  • Municipal government mechanisms for managing migration. The planned municipal forum was delayed due to COVID-19. The project team mapped key stakeholders at the city and metropolitan levels, and bilateral engagements began building coalitions. The team coordinated with the national authorities and stakeholders whose support is key to connecting the national governance mechanism “Guate te Incluye” to the planned municipal forum. 
  • App for registering returned migrants. The project designed an app to facilitate the registration of data on returned migrants and to visualize the institutional services available to support migrants in access to employment, certification of skills, entrepreneurship, and access to credit. The app was validated by OportuGuate, a national reference system for returning migrants created with UN support. 
  • School workshops. Initial agreements have been reached with the municipality and the Labour Ministry to advance school workshops to promote labour inclusion and entrepreneurship among youth and women. The project team also began the design phase of an information campaign and communications strategy for the activities. 

Duration: November 2019 – November 2021. 


San Marcos: Thriving in San Marcos - Prosperandos En San Marcos

Objective: To introduce an innovative two-year strategy to leverage remittances for local economic and human development. 

Activities: Building new partnerships with banks and credit cooperatives to provide formal financial services for remittance-receiving households, so that formal savings can be generated and transformed into credits for local businesses;  and improving educational performance among middle-school students in San Marcos.

Partners: The Inter-American Dialogue, banks and credit cooperatives. 


  • Financial education to formalize savings. The project achieved its goal of providing 25,000 financial advisories (21,184 in-person, 4,000 text messages, and 79 via telephone). Texts and telephones were used to adapt to the pandemic. The advice highlighted the advantages of formalizing savings and raised awareness of how to access formal saving products. It mobilized almost 6,000 remittance recipients (50% women) and formalized savings amounting to almost US $1.7 million. 
  • Saving remittances for credit. So far, nearly US $700,000 in remittances have been formally saved, forming the basis for formal credit institutions to prepare credit products for local entrepreneurs in the next cycle of the project. The project collaborated with Banco Industrial, which provided mobile apps, online banking, and deposits of remittances by phone using ATMs with and without cards. 
  • Business training. Virtual training helped 30 microentrepreneurs build capacities on marketing, branding sessions, and business competitiveness. 
  • After-school programme for middle school students. Implemented virtually, the programme enrolled 600 students (47% of them girls). Co-financing from partners such as Tigo Guatemala allowed the project to lend students mobile phones and internet packages to access online sessions. The Superintendency of Tax Administration offered three thematic courses; 692 students took math, 288 communications, and 209 entrepreneurship.

Duration:  November 2019 – November 2021.