IOM backs communication for development as a tool to promote regular migration in Mexico and Central America.
Communication for development (C4D) is a methodology that seeks to generate participatory processes through which local actors can find solutions to promote behavioral changes that bring about social change. IOM has used C4D with great success in other regions, such as Southeast Asia, with the project IOM X. In this case, the “IOM X Roadshow” model will be utilized in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico.
“The IOM X Roadshow model is an evidence-informed, participatory process, wherein community members design their own communication materials. First implemented in Asia in 2016, IOM X Roadshows in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Myanmar reached close to 300 million people, achieving positive impacts on levels of knowledge, attitudes, and safer behaviors. The Roadshows also influenced important institutional changes in the communities in which they took place, and contributed to an overall strengthening of infrastructure for safe and regular migration,” said Tara Dermott, IOM X Program Leader. “We are so excited to see the positive impact of the Roadshow model grow, as it is implemented by a number of IOM offices across the globe, starting with IOM in Central America.”
“C4D is ideal for addressing issues like migration, because it provides the tools to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the target audience. Once we have this clear, it is possible to develop custom tools and strategies, which is the key to success in any kind of effort related to information, prevention, and behavioral change,” explained Tatiana Chacón, Communication for Development Official of the Regional Migration Program Mesoamerica – the Caribbean.
The ultimate aim of this project is to build national and community capacities to develop awareness-raising campaigns based on Communication for Development. As part of the first stages of execution, an IOM X Training of Trainers workshop was held with IOM staff and government counterparts from Mexico and northern Central America.
Esteban Martínez Segovia, Head of Communications and Protocol of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreign Nationals in El Salvador, was one of the government representatives who participated in the workshop. He emphasized that, “Using this focus, more strategic communication plans aimed at achieving better results can be promoted. Empathy with communities is key for understanding the causes of migration, which as we know is evolving and taking new forms.”
“Central America is a region where all of the countries are, to a greater or lesser degree, countries of origin, transit, or destination for migrants. Addressing migration from a responsible and comprehensive perspective is indispensable for the social development of the countries. C4D is an ideal tool for approaching migration from a perspective that incorporates the greatest number of social actors possible,” stated Alexandra Bonnie, Regional Coordinator of the Program.
Various trainings for over 50 survey-volunteers were held in January 2019, in coordination with counterparts from the four participating countries, and data collection began for the more than 400 surveys per country that will form the research foundation of the project.
This regional initiative is part of the IOM X global project and is implemented within the framework of the Regional Migration Program Mesoamerica - the Caribbean, with support from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State of the United States.