IOM Ghana, partners mark 2021 International Migrants Day

BY: Graphic.com.gh
IOM Ghana, partners mark 2021 International Migrants Day
Ms Pooja Bhalla, Project Manager at IOM speaking at the durbar

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ghana has organised a series of community activities in Berekum in the Bono Region to mark this year’s International Migrants Day.

Designed to reflect on the global theme, which is "Harnessing the potential of human mobility," the day was marked with a float, participatory street art, a radio talk show, the screening of two Ghanaian short films as part of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) West Africa edition and a talk.

International Migrants day is observed every year on December 18, to discuss and reflect on migration and this year the focus was on topics such as safe migration, irregular migration, stigmatisation, and opportunities in the country.

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Berekum Municipal Assembly, traditional authorities, a young creative group and returned migrants partnered the IOM to mark the day.

Migration is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on the international community to facilitate orderly, safe, and regular migration, and is at the core of the Global Compact for Migration, adopted in 2018 by more than 160 countries, including Ghana.


PHOTO: Nana Owusu Fakyewaa, Kyidomhema speaking at the event

Activities

Selected Ghanaian films were screened to raise awareness of safe migration and to discuss alternatives to irregular migration.

During discussions that followed the film screening, returnees shared their stories of migration, return and reintegration to encourage the youth not to risk their lives searching for better employment opportunities elsewhere.

Artists from Ghana Graffiti also led and guided participating youth and community members to create a mural in a participatory street art activity.

In addition, a series of radio programmes in the week covered topics related to safe migration, dangers and alternatives of irregular migration, opportunities at home and stigmatisation.

The commemoration of the IMD will be concluded with the “Made in Taadi” Youth Seminar, an initiative of IOM Ghana Goodwill Ambassador Kofi Kinaata, on December 23, 2021 in Takoradi.

Under the theme “Untapped Opportunities in a Pandemic Era”, the seminar will explore opportunities for the youth, and discuss these in relation to safe migration pathways and the persisting issue of irregular migration.

Migration factors

Speaking on behalf of the IOM Ghana Chief of Mission Abibatou Wane-Fall, at the community durbar at Senase Berekum, the Project Manager at IOM Ghana, Pooja Bhallasaid a range of factors contribute towards the voluntary or forced movement of people, including natural disasters, economic challenges and extreme poverty or conflict.

All these factors will continue to significantly affect the characteristics and scale of migration in the future. They will also inform the strategies and policies countries must develop in order to harness the potential of migration while ensuring the fundamental human rights of migrants are protected,” she stated.

Noting that this year’s, IMD falls almost exactly 70 years after the establishment of IOM Pooja Bhalla said, through various innovative and creative youth engagement interventions, IOM and its partners support the youth to make informed migration decisions through regular channels and to explore existing alternative opportunities available at home.

IOM works closely with the Government of Ghana to harness the potential of migration – for example through supporting migrants and returnees to contribute towards the economic development of the country,” she added.


PHOTO: A youth creative group staging a drama on irregular migration.

Significant milestone

Citing Ghana’s significant milestones concerning migration, Pooja Bhalla said they included the development of the National Migration Policy (2016), National Action Plan for the Elimination of Human Trafficking (2017), National Migration Data Management Strategy (2017), Labour Migration Policy (2019) and a migration governance assessment (2019).

She said to continue protecting the fundamental rights of migrants, it is crucial to ensure that no migrant is left behind, including when it comes to countries’ social and economic COVID-19 recovery plans, adding that IOM Ghana remainedcommitted to offering innovative, practical solutions to common challenges and providing support for integration efforts, including combating discrimination and xenophobia in order to realise a future in which migration is a matter of choice rather than a necessity.

In her address, the queen mother of Berekum Senase, Nana Owusuwaa Fakyiwaa encouraged community members toalways choose safe migration.

She noted that there a lot of untapped opportunities in Berekumfor the youth to explore, “so you don’t have to risk your life to make it. You can make it here.”