DESPITE the rising trend in illegal migration Worldwide, especially from poorer to richer countries, WAKA Well by IOM X an International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) working in Nigeria has continued to show innovative campaigns in West Africa that seeks to prevent exploitation by empowering young people to make informed decisions about their future, both at home and abroad.
Reports have shown that Africa is one of the continents with the highest number of migrants, legal and illegal. This is a result of the level of poverty, ethnic conflicts, political issues, and terrorism. It could be recalled that globally, nations or states often have rules and laws that control and regulate how people come into their territories. When people or someone move from one area or country to settle in another, it is called migration. But migration becomes illegal if people do not have the permission of the country or borders they are entering into.
Young Nigerians make up the largest population of the growing flow of migrants from Africa to developed countries. In 2016, over 20,000 involved in the Mediterranean Sea crossing were reported to be from Nigeria.
Illegal migration has been a problem in Africa, a major cause of brain drain. It has robbed Africa of talents, hence promoting the shortage of manpower in different sectors. The youths who make up the larger percentage of the migrants leave the continent in order to explore and showcase their skills for ‘befitting’ reward. When talents leave, things become difficult in the sectors that need them and this cripples the economy.
However, an IOM study conducted in September 2019 in Oredo and Ikpoba Okha, Edo Nigeria reveals that 58 percent (out of 419 respondents) aged between 13 and 40 have not heard or seen information on the dangers of irregular migration in the last year.
Additionally, 58 percent indicated that friends were their primary source for information about migration and 66 percent said they generally got information about job opportunities through word-of-mouth. A lack of access to accurate and trustworthy information, both online and in-person, on regular migration options and the available opportunities in Nigeria were identified as key knowledge gaps.
Expediently, WAKA Well has continued to ensure a total fight against this monster from moves beyond raising awareness to affecting behaviour change, thus It does this by applying a Communication for Development (C4D), an evidence-based and participatory framework to design its activities.
Invariably, C4D is used to understand people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices around a certain issue in order to work with them to develop messages and tools for positive change. IOM X ensures results are continuously assessed to inform the campaign’s work and track the impact of its programmes
Funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and works closely with communities, civil society organizations, government agencies, returned migrants and youth groups across West Africa, with a focus on Guinea and Nigeria.
WAKA Well by IOM X is working closely with youth and their communities to produce media content for television, radio, online platforms, and community screenings. This community-led content seeks to raise awareness about local opportunities and risks associated with irregular migration.
It is important to note that all WAKA Well media content is available free-of-charge and can be seen on WAKAwell.info online platform optimized for learning, storytelling, and social sharing. It also provides information to young aspirant migrants in West Africa that will help them make informed decisions for their future, at home and abroad.
The platform features community-specific landing pages which include: Videos created by communities in Nigeria and Guinea; Success stories about how people define a life of success; Safe migration information (including how to get a passport, how to apply for a visa, lists of required documents, embassy contact details, and more); Opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship in the communities in which Waka activities are taking place.