IOM Launches Five Campaigns to Prevent Irregular Migration in Mexico and Central America

Date Publish: 
08/27/2019

San Jose – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is currently launching five campaigns to prevent the risks of irregular migration and encourage informed decision making among potential young Central American migrants.

Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras have already presented their campaigns Migrar InformadosÉchaleganas and Ponele plan a tu vida. El Salvador is currently preparing to launch the Conectá con tu futurocampaign for the month of September. That same month, Nicaragua and UNICEF will present the #YoCamino campaign.

All campaigns are based on IOM's experience in Asia with the hugely successful IOMX project, which used the Communication for Development (C4D) methodology.

The five campaigns were developed based on the results of more than 2,800 interviews, coordination spaces with more than 100 local partners and the validation of the audience to which the campaigns are directed.

In Mexico, results showed that 97 per cent of migrants in transit would make a great effort to obtain the documents needed to regulate their stay in the country, but 59 per cent do not know which documents they need.

In addition, 49 per cent mentioned not knowing where to look for information to migrate in a regular way. In response to these needs, the Migrar Informados campaign seeks to raise awareness about the existence and benefits of migration regularization routes in Mexico.

In the three countries of the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador), initial research showed that more than 80 per cent of people wish to receive information on regular migration channels and most would make an effort to get their documents for regular migration. In addition, between 59 per cent and 70 per cent of people interviewed would be willing to engage in local education, employment or entrepreneurship opportunities as an alternative to irregular migration.

The campaigns Ponele plan a tu vida in Honduras, Échale ganas in Guatemala and Conectá con tu futuroin El Salvador, aim to make young people reflect on their life plans and consider information on alternatives to irregular migration.

Esteban Martínez Segovia from the Communications Department of El Salvador’s General Directorate of Migration stressed that “under this approach, more strategic communication plans can be promoted and aimed at achieving better results. Empathy with the communities is key to understanding the causes of migration, which, as we know, is evolving and adopting new forms.”

Data from the interviews in Nicaragua showed that 60 per cent of adolescents are unaware of the difference between traveling regularly and doing it irregularly. Responding to the needs shown in the diagnosis, the #YoCamino campaign, which will be launched in September, focuses on making the processes of regular migration known. In Nicaragua, the campaign is funded and supported by UNICEF.

The campaigns are strengthened at a local level with a network of information points formed by organizations and institutions trained by IOM and government counterparts. This network will provide personalized information on regular migration and local development opportunities. The percentages of people interviewed willing to visit a Migration Information Centre range from 81 per cent to 89 per cent per country.

The campaigns promote the use of https://migrantinfo.iom.int/es, where users can find information about regular migration channels and opportunities for local learning, work and entrepreneurship. Internet use in the target audience of the campaigns range from 52 to 87 per cent. In addition, the campaigns have created a digital community around information on migration on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@enlacolmena)

The campaigns in Mexico and the Northern Triangle are being implemented within the framework of the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica-Caribbean, with funding from the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the US State Department and UNICEF is funding the campaign in Nicaragua.

For more information, please contact Tatiana Chacón, at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 8632 8527, Email: tchacon@iom.int, or Anabell Cruz at IOM Nicaragua, Tel: +505 7764 0424, Email: amcruz@iom.int


Panamanians, Migrants Closer to Health Services, Better Coexistence

Date Publish: 
03 / 07 / 2020

 

Panama City – The project was called “Strengthening Communities for Primary Health Care,” implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Panamá. It ended a few weeks ago, after being funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

While aiding migrants, the project also helped locals learn about the newcomers in their midst, including many Venezuelans. 

Albis is Panamanian. "Although my relationship with migrants was always good, I never took a deeper look at them," she confessed. That changed when she joined the IOM project as a health promoter. 

"I discovered many stories," Albis explained. "But there is one that marked me: Fiorella, a Venezuelan woman, pregnant, with a threat of abortion, and afraid to go to the health facilities. We helped her to be treated first in a health center and then in the hospital.”  

Sadly, Fiorella lost her baby, but the team saved her life, provided follow-up and emotional support. She has recovered and has resolved to become part of a community network that orients other migrants about the health facilities they can access. 

More than 7,000 migrants from different countries and vulnerable Panamanians from the districts of San Miguelito and La Chorrera, two of the areas with the highest proportion of migrants in Panamá, benefited from the support of health promoters like Albis. These community-based workers provided orientation and information on health promotion and disease prevention topics and referred cases for health care, while offering support and follow-up.  

Through this project, IOM strengthened the MoH's efforts to improve health care access among migrants in vulnerable situations and their host communities. The community outreach and communication campaign fielded eight health promoters who were trained on sexual, reproductive and mental health, vaccination, prenatal care, epidemic-prone diseases, MoH programmes for children and adolescents, and other topics related to migration., such as trafficking in persons, exploitation, xenophobia, among others. Also, 14 volunteer community leaders were identified and trained to support in the referral of cases. 

From five health centers, action teams visited metro stations and supermarkets, and carried out vaccination sessions, interventions in the communities, and virtual training sessions. Among the people reached by this project, 351 were referred for vaccination and medical care, including 15 suspected cases of COVID-19, all cases that turned out to be negative.  

"This project is important because foreigners in our country are often unaware of the Ministry of Health's scope and find difficulties in accessing our services," said Thays Noriega, Head of International Affairs and Technical Cooperation of the Ministry of Health.  

"One of the next steps will be to follow up on the population reached, in conjunction with the health districts," added Gonzalo Medina, IOM's National Programme Officer in Panamá.  

Better access to health services was not the only impact of this project. "Now I see more than a Venezuelan. I see a human being who, because of the situation in his country, was pushed to leave behind his family, friends, and customs," says Albis, the Panamanian health promoter. "They have gone from being skilled professionals with vast experience to being street vendors, reinventing themselves, becoming entrepreneurs, and living with fears in a place different from their land." 

"This is an excellent initiative for us. With this project, I have learned a little more about the costs in the health centers, the attention of some specialists, the medicines, the vaccines that Panamá offers," said Josnelly, a Venezuelan volunteer in the project. 

For more information, please contact Mayteé Zachrisson at IOM Panamá, Email: mzachrisson@iom.int,  Tel: +507 6312 5700.