YENNA is the International Organization for Migration’s online learning platform on community engagement for the promotion of safe migration. It is designed to help experts in the creation of better activities and to increase the active participation of communities on migration-related topics. What I find interesting about this learning platform is that it features a variety of contents and approaches on how to work on promoting safe migration on a community level. The contents are completely free and available for all. By all, this means that all experts and organisations working on the promotion of safe migration which includes community engagement practitioners from NGOs, migrant associations, community-based organisations and other UN agencies.
What exactly can be discovered about #MMN on YENNA?
There are selections of articles, educational materials, free online courses, podcasts and of course the #MMN toolkit! The #MMN toolkit is the first toolkit to be featured on the YENNA and is currently present on the website. The toolkit is designed to tackle migration misinformation by the Migrant Media Network.
What is included in the #MMN toolkit and what makes it important when it comes to the goal of YENNA?
The #MMN toolkit includes the #MMNApp which is an online app used in accessing information regarding decision making, goal setting, visa applications, studying abroad, the dangers faced by women in irregular migration, and related topics which is in line with the promotion of safe migration and community engagement. The app can also be used offline once downloaded. Another #MMN toolkit is the USSD system with dialling codes (in Ghana and the Gambia) that can be used to access information. There is also the Smart Migration Guide used by facilitators for training in rural communities. It can also be used by individuals as a guide. The smart migration guide is easy to read and understand with images and graphics. In addition to this, it can be downloaded as a soft copy on mobile phones, tablets or laptops.
The USSD system with dialling codes in Ghana and the Gambia that can be used to access information on migration.
An image of the game being played in The Gambia and being presented in Ghana
Last but not the least is the #MMN Game featured on YENNA. The Think carefully, move safely board game is a very fun, interesting, as well as an educative game designed to allow people engage in discussions about migration-related topics and the rumours associated with it.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/featured-by-Yanna-.png?fit=1640%2C924&ssl=19241640adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2023-01-31 16:03:512023-02-01 00:27:13#MMN- Migrant Media Network Toolkit featured on YENNA_IOM
#MMN – Migrant Media Network featured by IOM – Germany written by Olumide Olufemi
Yahya Moro Yapha, a Gambian Diaspora Mentor of #MMN who has had first-hand experience with irregular migration alongside Susanne Bellinghausen, Project Manager for the #Migrant Media Network Project were interviewed by IOM_Germany on their impactful work in raising awareness across Ghana and The Gambia on the risks associated with irregular Migration and the promotion of safe migration pathways. In this Q&A, Moro Yapha talks about his experience which inspired him to become a Gambian activist working with migrants in Germany. Being an activist for migrants in Germany also led him to #MMN where he is a diaspora mentor for the Gambia, doing a lot of amazing work locally at home and in Germany. The project manager, Susanne Bellinghausen also gives an insight on the mission, method and approach of #MMN.
Below is the transcript of the interview:
What is the mission of the Migrant Media Network (#MMN)?
Susanne Bellinghausen: #MMN was created in 2019 to look at how diasporas in Germany share messages with people at home through social media, to combat the spread of misinformation. We do social media trainings for the diaspora, after which they travel for a short time to their home country, talk about their migration experiences—both the positive and negative aspects. By sharing their experiences firsthand, we want to inform people before they migrate, to help them be informed when making the decision to migrate. So even if they migrate irregularly, they know what to expect. Talking to Moro, I learned so many things from his migration experience that a lot of people do not know. We’re trying to develop tools to help the diaspora communicate with people back home, mainly in rural areas, where they may not have access to information due to limited internet access.
What is the #MMN method and approach?
Susanne Bellinghausen: We train diaspora and send them to the countryside to inform multipliers—the elders, the women, and the youth—about migration pathways. Throughout the year, trained diaspora representatives travel to Ghana and Gambia to do awareness raising. In addition, we have teams on the ground in both countries. Our local coordinators run regular “Bantabas” or “Stammtische” a few times a month to reach out to people, have conversations, and distribute the materials we produced. We also have an #MMNofflineAPP through which we share information on how to apply for a visa, for scholarships, and for vocational training at home before leaving. The #MMN team developed a Smart Migration Guide, from which the information for the MMNofflineApp was taken. The Guide covers more details, is very informative and doesn’t require a lot of reading but instead is graphically easy to understand. The trainers transport this material to the people by talking about it. We also work with our “Think Carefully, Move Safely” board game, which we created to have an interactive way to engage people in conversations that can be uncomfortable. It is like snakes and ladders, but with regular and irregular migration pathways.
What do you do as an #MMN Diaspora Mentor for the Gambia?
Moro Yapha: One year ago, I was invited, together with other Gambian activists working with migrants in Germany, to attend a workshop organized by #MMN. I am one of the Gambians who went through the Sahara and the sea, facing so many difficulties. After arriving in Europe, I created my own website to post about my experiences. The most important part of my advocacy is to make people back home aware of the dangers of irregular migration. I post about the untold stories of migration, asylum, and integration. As part of #MMN, I traveled back to Gambia, to Basse (the Upper River Region) where most Gambian migrants come from. We ran workshops with the local population, specifically youth, women, and the elderly. I spoke with them using the Smart Migration Guide about developing smart goals for migration, setting expectations, and what might happen on the journey. With the women, we focused on human trafficking and the exploitation of women along the journey. With the elderly, who are key stakeholders, I spoke about decision-making in migration, the realities and expectations for migration, human trafficking, exploitation of migrants along the journey, life experiences, struggles, and legal conditions of migrants along the journey to reach Europe.
How did your own migration journey prepare you for this role?
Moro Yapha: When I arrived in Europe, I became engaged in activism to raise the awareness of migrants and people back home about irregular migration. I wanted to go home and speak to my people directly, in my own language, about my experience. When I was sent to the Gambia, I was grateful to speak directly to the youth. I did not hesitate. I started from day one, when I packed my bag in the Gambia until I reached Libya, the time I spent time in Libya, how I crossed the sea to reach Italy, my stay in Italy, until I reached Germany. I explained everything to them. People told me I was the first Gambian sent from abroad to speak to them directly about my migration experience. Most people who succeed show off to the community, but they don’t tell the truth. I tell the youth that it is not worth it. I tell them, you are going to school, you can be educated. And if you are educated, it is a global world, so you can apply for studies and scholarships. The workshop with women was very emotional. Most of the women that attended either lost their sons or daughters or family members and shared with me their experiences, about what happened to their loved ones.
How do you frame your discussion about migration with Gambians?
Moro Yapha: When it comes to irregular migration, what we call the “backway” in The Gambia, it is hard to discourage people from going. If you are in Europe, you must be strategic. I am honest and speak to them from my experience. I did not board a plane to come and enjoy. It took me one year of difficulties. Crossing the sea, I could have died. I have two messages—to the diaspora, instead of sending money back home to encourage irregular migration, let’s invest in businesses in the Gambia. You can have a startup, encourage the people at home to get skills through vocational training, and when they are equipped, we can send them money to start a business. If we want to stop or reduce irregular migration, there should be a strategic way for diaspora to come together and develop strategies. These could be financial, advocacy, or other methods. We also need to stop sending photos, posting on Facebook and WhatsApp, that everything is alright, while we are sleeping outside.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/featured-by-iom-germany1.png?fit=1640%2C924&ssl=19241640adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2023-01-25 15:10:542023-01-25 18:30:03IOM_ Germany Q&A with two team members of the Migrant Media Network
The Netherlands-based organization v2, an interdisciplinary center for art and technology, invited the r0g_agency to come and present their work during an event called A Night of r0g. And so on Thursday, May 5th 2022 members of the Berlin-based team were in Rotterdam to talk about the work we do together with our partners worldwide and present our vision of how to create a more just world.
The event was held in the v2 space, located in the art district of town and was open to the public. It was an exciting moment for r0g to get to address a new audience and tell them about our work and why it deeply matters.
The evening’s performance was divided into three stations, each focusing on a different area of r0g’s work.
The first station’s focus was Peacebuildung. Jaiksana from @platformafrica was there to talk about the work with do together with the #defyhatenow project in Uganda and South Sudan. He discussed why and how misinformation spreads in the refugee camps – and how the #defyhatenow project is working to counter this with fact-checking initiatives. He also talked about using creativity, such as song, to promote peace and used his original song Run as an example of how music can help spread a message of searching for peace and belonging in a way that others can easily relate to. You can listen to his song here.
The second station looked at Youth Innovation. Wolfgang, who in the past partnered with the r0g_agency in Pakistan on a project that empowered girls to engage with tech, talked about his work, and then ended the night with a performance piece.
The third station focused on Social Activism. Susi, our co-founder, introduced the #MigrantMediaNetwork project and its mission to spread accurate information and dispel the many rumors that are used by human traffickers and smugglers to entrap people. She was joined on stage by Heike, our graphic designer, and Sara, our editor, who talked about how the #MMN game and materials are designed, both in terms of graphics and text, to have the greatest impact and work to empower people to make safer migration choices.
The #MMN game was also projected in large-scale on the ground, in order to allow for an immersive experience of playing the migration-based game.
Overall, the event at v2 was a great opportunity to spread the word about our projects and the work we do to empower others in the areas of peacebuilding, migration, open source, and open knowledge.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/WhatsApp-Image-2022-05-24-at-11.56.48-AM.jpeg?fit=1200%2C1600&ssl=116001200adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2022-05-25 12:20:362022-05-25 12:22:50Evening of r0g_agency at v2_lab in Rotterdam
#MMN Meetup: How can the Ghanaian fashion industry become a resource for sustainable alternatives to migration?
Talk and exhibits by Nuel Bans (founder & editor-in-chief of Debonair Afrik, a Ghanaian-based digital media publication) and Rhoda Wedam (founder and CEO of the Song-Ba Empowerment Center, Ghana)
What is needed to develop sustainable business opportunities in the fashion industry? Which role does second-hand clothing play for Ghana’s entrepreneurs? And how can local entrepreneurs become successful (inter)nationally? During our next #MMN meetup, our two guests will provide insights into the challenges and successes of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in the fashion market and discuss how sustainable fashion can create positive alternatives to migration.
The event will also feature two photo exhibitions, entitled In The Days Of Us and Fast Enough To Trash
About the speakers:
Ekuban Emmanuel, popularly known as Nuel Bans, aims to support Africa’s young and emerging fashion talents. He is a creative collector for The Style Lounge, a platform that scouts for and nurtures emerging fashion in Africa, Ambassador to Global Fashion Exchange, and founder & editor-in-chief of Debonair Afrik. Debonair Afrik is a Ghanaia-based digital publication covering fashion, lifestyle, publishing, and current events. It was founded in 2015 as a neo-Africanism publication and serves as an online news portal for Ghanaians and others in the Sub-Saharan region.
Rhoda Wedma is the founder and CEO of the Song-Ba Empowerment Centre. She focuses on supporting women and girls without formal education, who travel to urban cities as head porters (Kayayo) and helps them identify sources of income. She is also the #MMN local coordinator for the Northern Region, where she focuses on helping the youth in the region have access to accurate information regarding migration and learn about employment and educational opportunities they can pursue in their area.
When? Saturday 19.02.2022, 5-9pm (CET) Where? r0g_office, Knobelsdorffstr. 22, 14059 Berlin and /migrantmedianetwork
According to a 2021 World Health Organization Report, https://www.who.int/news/item/09-03-2021-devastatingly-pervasive-1-in-3-women-globally-experience-violence, at least one in every three women and girls experience violence in their lifetime. In conflict and post-conflict settings, incidences of violence against women and girls (VAWG) are exacerbated, resulting in increased adverse social, economic, health and psycho-social effects. In an attempt to prevent and respond to the occurrence of VAWG in humanitarian settings, women and self-organized groups are working to create safe spaces for women and girls.
As commemorated by UN Women every year, this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women had the Theme ‚ ‘Orange the World-End violence against women now’. The 16 days of activism were observed from the 25th of November to the 10th of December 2021. During this time, UN Women urged the world to build on new actions and strengthen its commitments for a violence-free future against women.
In our monthly series of “Women Empowering Women “, the Migrant Media Network (#MMN) hosted its first edition of the diaspora meet-up in Berlin, Charlottenburg. The discussion that marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women centered on women in migration with a theme ‘Creating safe spaces for migrant women ‘.
The event featured two female activists; Isatou Barry, a trainer and FGM activist with Terre des Femmes and Jennifer Kamau, co-Founder and women rights activist of the International Women Space* Berlin. Both of whom are active speakers on violence against women and empowering women. The two-hour discussion centered around the causes and effects of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), violence against women and girls, women’s rights in migration and asylum policies.
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/about/en/ recognizes FGM as an international human rights violation and shows that female genital mutilation has no health benefits but harms girls and women in ways such as chronic genital infections, severe menstrual cramps, painful sexual intercourse and dysfunction, complications during childbirth as well as depression and trauma. Most – if not all – traditional circumcisers have no medical background. They apply old, traditional techniques, leading to the death of some girls/women during the procedure.
Refugees and migrants have not been able to achieve sufficient self-reliance. With this in mind, there is a need for refugees and migrant women to have access to jobs and educational opportunities to enable them to defend themselves against violence, sexism, racism, the violence of the asylum system and migration policies by documenting, making visible, and publishing their stories in their own words. This will also enable them to build their livelihoods.
“We are fed up with people speaking about us and not with us -women’s resistance is often oppressed, and women’s history hidden or ignored”, Jennifer Kamau of the International Women Space (IWS) elaborated, adding that IWS focuses more on asylum policies and what effects the policies in place have on migrant women.
Both speakers asked for more dialogues on women’s rights and violence against issues affecting women such as asylum policies, FGM, sexual harassment and rape, noting that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation that has been perpetuated for decades. They furtherurged a “stand against rape culture” each case, according to them, is unique to the cultural sensitivities and barriers of each community. Isatou Barry observed that; in many cultures, being shamed and stigmatized for standing up against abuse can isolate an individual from their community. For example, a non-circumcised girl is excluded in the societies of circumcised girls.
They also recommended teaching the younger generation and learning from them should serve as an example for them to shape the way they think about gender, respect and human rights. “Start conversations about gender roles early, and challenge the traditional features and characteristics assigned to men and women,” said Isatou Barry.
Jennifer Kamau emphasized the importance of listening and believing the survivors. “When a woman shares her story of violence, she takes the first step to breaking the cycle of abuse. It’s therefore, on all of us to give her the safe space she needs to speak up and be heard”. She added that women on the move need gender-sensitive migration and asylum policies. The specific needs of migrant women and girls can only be addressed through gender-sensitive migration and asylum policies, including specific protection and support mechanisms
In conclusion, Jennifer stressed that migrant and refugee women in Europe face particular challenges, including violence, difficulties in access to justice, a likelihood to fall into precarious situations, risks of abject poverty and social exclusion. Migrant refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls also often face double discrimination. They are sometimes restricted within their communities by cultural codes, customs, religion or tradition and by different stereotypes and institutional barriers in host countries. This is often challenging because they are perceived as different from European culture(s).
The Migrant Media Network (#MMN) monthly series of “Women Empowering Women “is an initiative by our Gambian/ diaspora community manager Nyima Jadama, our women and migration expert ‘coordinator. This blog aims to tell stories of women in migration, especially from The Gambia, focusing on irregular migration.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/panelists.jpeg?fit=1086%2C724&ssl=17241086adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2021-11-30 21:43:002021-12-31 09:22:44Women paving ways for a violence-free future for women by creating safe spaces.
By Lamin Sanneh – #MMN Local Coordinator The Gambia – West Coast Region
According to a joint report by the government of the Gambia and the International Organization for Migration, The Gambia is a country of out-migration. That means that migration is one directional: people migrant out of The Gambia, but people do not migrant to The Gambia. The Gambia has around 2 million citizens and of those, about 140,000 Gambians live abroad. That means that 7% of Gambians have left The Gambia.
This is a major concern for the Gambia. The surge of young people risking their lives to reach Europe has serious implications, both on the lives of those risking the journey and on communities back home.
Irregular migration is a phenomenon that is often talked about in The Gambia, yet accurate information about irregular migration is often not available. Attempting to migrate irregularly across the Sahara and towards the Mediterranean is a perilous journey that can easily end tragically. So what makes people choose this option? Are they aware of all that can go wrong? Where did they find their information and did they fact-check it? Are they aware of options for success in The Gambia?
These are important questions to answer, and this is where the Migrant Media Network comes in.
#MMN – the Migrant Media Network is a project of the r0g_agency, a Berlin-based nonprofit. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
#MMN’s aim is to disseminate accurate, life-saving information about (ir)regular migration through social media and through community outreach programs, in order to help people make informed decisions about migration.
One way that #MMN does this is through a radio talk show. Radio plays a pivotal role in disseminating information to a larger audience. It is especially good at getting information to communities that are harder to reach in person due to distance and a poorly maintained network of roads.
#MMN Radio – The Gambia serves as a platform to discuss migration issues, in native languages, and in the specific context of The Gambia.
We hope you will listen in and share it with your friends and family!
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/MMN-Radio.png?fit=1640%2C924&ssl=19241640adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2021-10-07 08:24:252021-10-07 08:54:45#MigrantMediaNetwork Radio Program – The Gambia
With a population of approximately 200,000,000 people, which is expected to double within the next 30 years, Nigeria continues to assert its primacy within the sphere of international politics, demographics and sovereignty. The most populous nation and biggest economy in Africa, the West African nation is a major player in the wave of heightened transnational movements sweeping through the globe. A 2018 study by Pew Research Centre identifies Nigeria as being a major source of immigrants to the EU. With over 400,000 Nigerian born immigrants living in the EU, Norway, and Switzerland, the country easily tops the chart of sub-Saharan immigrants in that region. Indeed, a study by the Washington-based Think tank – Pew Research Center – shows that 74% of Nigerians are seeking to leave the country, either passively or actively. Knowing exactly how many Nigerians explore irregular migration routes is difficult, as many end up in Libya and other North African countries undocumented, while some lose their lives in the dangerous journey through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean. Moreover, a significant number do not correctly declare their origin.
However, it is estimated that between 2014 and 2016, way over 50,000 Nigerians crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Another source shows that over 80,000 Nigerians arrived by sea in Italy from 2013 to 2018. Little wonder the EU listed Nigeria among the five priority countries where efforts to regulate irregular migration must be intensified. Even as thousands continue to depart Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries in search for an often-elusive promised land – Europe, the spotlight is beginning to shine more and more on the complexities of the journey, as well as the vicissitudes of removal, return and repatriation. Since 2017, thousands of irregular and undocumented immigrants have been returned to Nigeria from North Africa and Europe. Many of these returnees carry with them a burden of physical and psychological injuries. In addition to their scars and trauma is the burden of stigma, disorientation and poverty. #MMN will take these intricacies into effect in the structuring of social, educational and economic programs and systems for a multi-faceted approach to migration in Nigeria.
Interestingly, as Nigeria has been identified as a primary source of irregular migrants to Europe, it has been established that a huge percentage of these emigrants are from Edo State. Practically, there are already a number of NGOs working in the region, many of which are focused on providing support to returnees, while others mobilize returnees help sensitize communities on the realities of irregular migration. Many of these organizations and bodies are domiciled in Benin City, the capital of Edo state. Following a baseline study, #MMN Nigeria will potentially focus on peri-urban and rural communities close to Benin City. Targeting younger people in schools, churches, and networks, #MMN will use already produced and tested guides and kits, adapted to suit the local context to work with and alongside community members. We will equally identify partners and resource persons for collaboration and sharing of resources.
Ghana is located on the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa and occupies an area of about 92,099 sq. miles. It shares boarders to Togo (eastern side), Cote d’Ivoire (western side), and Burkina Faso (northern side). Ghana has just carried out its latest population and housing census last month. This is an exercise organised every ten years. The current estimated total population according to the United Nations World Population Dashboard ( https://www.unfpa.org/data/world-population-dashboardhttps://www.unfpa.org/data/world-population-dashboard) stands at 31.7 million with young people making for one third of the population and a growth rate of 2.0% per year.
Although Ghana is often cited as a rising star in Africa due to its major strides toward democracy under a multi-party system and a low middle-income country status due to national and regional economic reforms. There are however rising social and economic inequalities undermining transformational change and sustainable development as well as threatening social cohesion. These inequalities are pervasive and increasing particularly between men and women and the north and the south of the country.
Migration, specifically irregular migration out of Ghana is one of the biggest socio-economic challenges the country is faced with. Ghana has been a major migrant-producing country for several decades. About 3% of Ghana’s population have emigrated since 2014, mostly to Europe and America due to uneven development and development trajectory failing particularly the young people for perceived quality of life.
It is well documented that an estimated 1000s of migrants from Ghana enter into Europe through illegal sea crossings of the Central, Eastern and Western Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans. According to International Centre for Migration Policy Development (cited in EC, 2004), 50 % of migrants transiting through Agadez in Niger would be from Nigeria, 15 % from Niger, 10 % from Ghana. Ghanaian youth risk their lives to cross the Sahara-desert and the Mediterranean and Atlantic Seas for better life opportunities in Europe. By so doing they expose themselves to this deadly and dangerous journey.
Although recent evidence shows that the number of Ghanaian nationals in irregular situations in the EU has remained stable since 2010, with the majority found in Germany (2,090), the UK (620), and Greece (395).
Ghana is further considered a Tier 2 country as the country does not meet the minimum threshold for the elimination of trafficking and smuggling. Migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons is a serious and growing concern for the Government of Ghana and EU governments, as Ghana is recognised as country of origin, transit, and destination of individuals for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and domestic and commercial labour.
Coupled with this irregular migration is the issue of brain drain, many skilled professionals especially from the health sector have left Ghana to Europe for greener pastures impacting negatively on the quality of life and wellbeing. The country has one of the highest emigration rates for highly skilled workers in Western Africa leading to diminished human capital.
Diaspora Social Media Usage as a major driver of irregular migration through misinformation
Social media is a primary source of information for many people. The use of social media has transformed how the youth share and seek travel information in Ghana. For example, the daily use of social media by Ghanaian diaspora youth such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and other forms of online engagements have negatively influenced the youth in Ghana and their perceptions on migrating to Europe. Empirical evidence from the Migration Media Network (#MMN) project alludes to some of these findings. This is especially true for young people between the ages of 15-35 years who constitute larger segment of the population. It is very common among diaspora youth to send messages and posts to friends and families in Ghana showcasing how life in Europe is very comfortable and how one can easily get rich by just traveling to Euope. Misinformation on how easy and cheap one can easily enter into Europe through irregular routes and quick access to resident permits via marriages are very common stories on social media users from the diaspora. Prospective migrants in Ghana, on the other hand, consider this these type of information on social media as facts and based on this may decide to embark on a vicious journey to Europe though the sea or other irregular migration routes. The increasing usage of social media due to rising access to internet connectivity in Ghana and by diaspora youth have contributed immensely to irregular migration from Ghana to Europe and often cited in recent times as a key driving factor causing increasing rates of irregular migration.
Diaspora youth as champions of change and addressing irregular migration
The author of this blog, Cosmas Kombat Lambini comes from Ghana. Although he came to Europe through an Erasmus Mundus programme in International Rural Development (https://www.eacea.ec.europa.eu/scholarships/emjmd-catalogue_en). The author is aware of numerous youths from Northern Ghana who often risk to embark on the voyage to Europe through Agadez in Niger-deserts in Libya and Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans to Europe. Even though Ghana is endowed with numerous natural and human resources with a lot of opportunities that most young people could tap into for national development. The Agricultural sector for example is a major contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the country has vast land for sustainable agricultural development that could be harnessed by the growing youth population as a possible alternative to address irregular migration.
In 2009, the author of this blog, founded the Anoshe Group in Chereponi in Northern Ghana, a farming community where he was born and bred. The group was registered as a Ghanaian enterprise under the Registry General Department and started farming operations in 2010. The sole vision of the group was to create business opportunities to the youth and women though agribusiness and to reduce rural-urban migration. The group started originally with 50 households and have since grown to 1000 households (1000ha) and operating in five (5) communities in Chereponi District of Ghana. The group received initial seed funding and technical support from Sabab Lou Stiftung-(sabab-lou.de) the Hohenheim University in Stuttgart.
The Anoshe Group is financially self-sustaining and created several direct and indirect jobs for the youth in the region. The group revenues generated through sales of farm yields and empowerment of vulnerable groups demonstrate that farming as enterprise could mitigate youth migrating to Europe with the needed support offered to them to venture into agribusiness.
In conclusion, this intervention provides evidence that diaspora youth could be positive agents of transformative change based on the rich experience and networks developed in Europe. However, this is only possible with the right individual motivation and appropriate incentives to give back to communities of origin back home in Ghana.
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This blog acknowledges funding from The Migrant Media Network (https://migrantmedia.network/):“Engaging Diaspora and Potential Migrants on Safe Migration and Positive Alternatives”. The viewsand opinionsexpressed in this blog are those of the authoronly.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/WhatsApp-Image-2021-08-13-at-2.03.01-PM-2.jpeg?fit=816%2C454&ssl=1454816adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2021-08-15 00:18:512022-02-09 18:08:08Diaspora Youth as agents of transformative change in Northern Ghana
The Gambia is both a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Gambian women, girls, and to a lesser extent boys are exploited for prostitution and domestic servitude. Women and children from West African countries are also trafficked to The Gambia for commercial sexual exploitation, particularly to meet the demands of European sex tourists.
According to the refworld.org 2018 person in trafficking report, The Gambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government has demonstrated minimal anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, investigating a few trafficking cases, but not prosecuting or convicting any offenders during the previous administration of former president Jammeh. The administration in power prior to 2017 did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any government employees complicit in trafficking. The former government identified and repatriated 19 Gambian girls subjected to domestic servitude in Lebanon, but did not identify or provide protective services to any trafficking victims in The Gambia.
In late 2020 Lovette Jallow of Action for Humanity, a non-governmental organization based in Sweden that responds to humanitarian issues in West and North Africa, initiated the repatriation of 38 trafficked women and 2 children from the Middle East to the Gambia. These women were all trafficked, some without any consent, some having hope for a better future abroad.
Jallow and her team initiated repatriation aid for these women after she was contacted by some of the victimized women. These women had also posted videos on social media, asking for help after many failed attempts to garner assistance from the Gambian embassy in Lebanon. One video shows them protesting at the Gambian embassy there, demanding help with repatriation in order to reunite them with their families in The Gambia.
According to statements Jallow made in a video she posted on social media, the Gambia government under President Adama Barrow failed to come to the women’s aid, until her NGO announced her support, to help repatriate these women and children. In another facebook post Jallow then annouced that The Gambian consulate in Lebanon agreed to release the emergency travel documents for the women.
Many especially Lovette herself believe it was a calculated move by the government to try to regain its citizens lost trust, despite having previously failed to act. On the other hand, at that time Jallow said she had gained a lot of respect and therefore praised Gambians across the world because they supported her work, amplified their voices using social media and using their (Gambian) own voices to speak up against the inhuman condition of the stranded women. ‘’I do not have trust or faith in the Gambian government nor how they disregard their citizens especially women stranded and trafficked to foreign countries’’ Ms Jallow further stated that more needs to be done to help Gambian citizens on Gambian soil and outside.
Prior to her NGOs team arrival in Dakar the government unexpectedly organized a team of delegates, who arrived in Dakar intercepting her NGOs bus to bring the individuals home when at first they declined her NGOs request to meet the women in Dakar and escort them home, this Jallow describe as an unprofessional move by a governing body of a whole state. Fortunately according to her, the women/ victims decline the government buses on site as the same government failed to assist them – some for several years of pleading and others for over 9 months. ‘’The distrust for the government was high and they were all keen to get safely home via the NGO assistance’’ she added.
After arrival Ms. Jallow mentioned her NGO distributed about one million Dalasi (20.000 Euros) amongst the women as a means to help them during the covid for food and any other expenses they may need to have whilst resettling back. This she says excluded an undisclosed amount of thousands of euros spent separately from paying for rent for the women to have a safe place to stay in Lebanon, Buses in Lebanon to take them to the airport, lawyer fees, food costs, plane tickets for all women, buses in Dakar and taxis to take them all individually home.
Jallow was understandably frustrated as the whole transaction took a lot of her time which she says could be utilized for another purposed if it was collaborated, nothing that governments complacency made everything much harder than it needed to be ‘’it is done now and I am extremely proud of the work achieved and hope more will get involved in this work’’.
In January this year The Gambian National assembly commended her NGO and the hard work it took in repatriating the stranded women home as they had requested. As she says, “I do not do this to get fame or praises, I do this to support womanhood, empower women, heal and shine together with this young women who are so vulnerable.” Yet women who had been helping were left out of the rescue operation.
Despite being disappointed with how the government handled the operation, Jallow continues to work to address trafficking. It is an urgent issue that needs to be tackled in order to protect women and children from continued exploitation.
The Migrant Media Network (#MMN)’s series Women Empowering Women is an initiative by our Gambian diaspora community manager Nyima Jadama, who also doubles as our women and migration expert coordinator. The aim of the series is to tell the stories of women in migration, with a focus on irregular migration in The Gambia.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Lovette.jpeg?fit=960%2C960&ssl=1960960adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2021-08-10 15:50:002021-08-11 12:22:56Together we heal, learn and shine
Over 40 participants attended the workshop, consisting of #MMN coordinators in Ghana, people from six key stakeholder organizations, and the media. They discussed the current status of activities that the stakeholders are undertaking in order to stem the tide of irregular migration and benefit more from regular migration.
Those present included:
The Migration Management Bureau of the Ghana Immigration Service
German Consulate of the Embassy of Germany in Ghana
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Ghana
International Organization for Migration, Ghana (IOM)
Africa Focal Point, Migration Working Group of UN Major Group for Children and Youth
Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration, and Reintegration
Two main points emerged from the workshop. First, it was clear that there is a lot of potential to work together and that all stakeholders and communities would benefit from collaboration. All participants unanimously agreed that there are many benefits to communities and the nation derived from managing and minimizing irregular migration and promoting regular migration. To this end, #MMN endeavors to pursue formal collaborations with most of these organizations in due time. The visit to the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration, and Reintegration is a step in this direction.
Second, #MMN proposed that networking among organizations should be strengthened by undertaking joint activities in communities. Joint efforts would strengthen results. Undoubtedly, each organization is already doing a lot to stem irregular migration. Yet even greater success could be had if organizations get to know more about each other and the work they do and work together.
https://i0.wp.com/migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/image7-1.png?fit=1080%2C810&ssl=18101080adminhttps://migrantmedia.network/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MMN_logo.jpgadmin2021-07-27 23:49:132021-07-28 13:07:16Launch of #MMN Field Guide Kit and Strengthening Partnerships for Safer Migration, Workshop Report
Migrant Media Network is a project by r0g_agency funded by the German Foreign Office. It seeks to foster an informed decision-making process regarding migration to Europe by creating awareness on migration issues & social media sensitization.