UNESCO launches a project for access to quality information on migration for the youth in Mali
In order to empower young boys and girls to make informed decisions on migration issues through better access to quality information, the UNESCO Office in Mali in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication in charge of Relations with the Institutions, Spokesperson of the Government proceeded on July 25, 2019, at Hotel Azalai Bamako, to the launch of the project "Empowering young people in Africa through the media and communication”.
According to a survey conducted in 2016 by ECOWAS on migration policies in West Africa, more than 80% of African migration is internal to the African continent and concerns nearly 19 million people, including 6.7 million West Africa and 3.5 million in Central Africa. Women make up 47.1% and young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are 16% of migrants.
Unfortunately, the media's ability to cover migration is relatively weak, media content often provides an inaccurate description of migration factors, rarely covers migrant stories, or focuses on migration risks, often resulting in promoting false image of migrants.
It is in this context that UNESCO, in collaboration with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), and in partnership with the Ministry of Communication in charge of Relations with Institutions, Spokesperson of the Government have launched the project "Empowering young people in Africa through media and communication" to strengthen access to migration information for young people. This three-year project is a UNESCO initiative and covers eight West and Central African countries namely Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.
Mr. Yaya Sangaré, Minister of Communication, in charge of Relations with the Institutions, Spokesperson for the Government chaired the ceremony with Mr. Saip Sy representing the Head of UNESCO Office in Mali, and Mr. Elvis Michel Kenmoe, Communication and Information Advisor, UNESCO Regional Office, Dakar.
Representatives of press associations, traditional and online media, young men and women journalists, as well as many other actors in the civil society were also present.
In his opening address, on behalf of UNESCO, Mr. Sy thanked the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) for its financial support. He also thanked the Ministry of Communication for its involvement in the implementation of the project. He stressed that the project will contribute to improving access to information of the Malian opinion, and especially young people, on the risks and opportunities related to migration through appropriate media content. For him, the project subscribes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal SDG 16 especially in its target 10, which recommends guaranteeing public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. He recalled that the said project would contribute to the implementation of the UNESCO Strategy for the Sahel on Gender Equality, Media Development and Priority Africa.
For his part, Mr. Sangaré thanked the partners, especially UNESCO for the initiative. He went on to declare that, information plays a crucial role in the migration theme in the country. "This is why this project responds to the need to properly inform our youth, so that the decision to migrate is the result of a free and responsible choice, not a necessity.” Finally, Mr. Sangaré concluded, "together we will build a well-informed youth composed of enlightened, critical citizens who are able to participate actively in the life of their community and the country.”
As part of the implementation of the project, some activities are planned. These include significantly enhancing the capacity of the media and young journalists to enable young people to access information on migration issues, through training sessions. Other activity is the adoption of modules in journalism schools and codes of conduct for journalists and the media to enhance access to high-quality, ethically-based information related to migration and human rights; enhancing the capacity of talented young African artists to better inform about migration and local opportunities for young people in target countries.
During the ceremony, a presentation of the project was done, followed by exchanges that allowed participants and future journalists to own the project. Through the presentation, the participants have understood that the project contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the African Union’s 2063 Agenda through its Migration Policy Framework for Africa. This framework advocates, among other policy actions, access to accurate information on labor migration, before departure and after arrival, including conditions, recourse and access to legal advice in the event of human rights violations.