The Government of Ghana, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the European Union Delegation to Ghana on Thursday, July 17, 2020, launched the nationwide “No Place Like Home” campaign to promote safe migration among the Ghanaian youth amid COVID-19.
The campaign, supported by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration and funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, shares accurate information on the dangers of irregular migration and inspires the youth to look for opportunities in Ghana before embarking on a perilous journey.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on human mobility and on the livelihoods of millions of people across West Africa, including here in Ghana. We expect that the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 will put pressure on many communities which may lead to increased migration. We need to be proactive, and safe migration campaigns such as “No Place Like Home” are crucial in preventing unnecessary sufferings and loss of lives,” said Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.
The campaign features stories of returning migrants such as Ebenezer Bae who returned to Ghana in 2017. Today, Ebenezer is leading a youth group in the Brong Ahafo region – a migration-prone area heavily affected by a high unemployment rate – that advocates for safe migration.
Ebenezer says: “After risking my life in the desert and experiencing exploitation and abuse in Libya, I felt the youth must know, so they do not put themselves in similar difficulties. I am fortunate to be alive because many did not survive. More importantly, what I was looking for in Libya, is in abundance in Ghana. I want the youth to understand that it is possible to make it here. I tell them: If you want to migrate, use the right channel. This is our campaign message.”
The “No Place Like Home” campaign complements ongoing efforts of grass-root organizations to raise awareness of safe migration. Additionally, participatory activities, such as street art painting or sports have proved successful in bringing community members together, fostering social cohesion, and countering stigmatization affecting migrants upon their return.
“The management of migration in order to maximize its gains and minimize its negative effects continues to be a high priority for Government and the Ministry,” said Rose Tsorhey, Director, Policy Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of the Interior, Co-chair of the Project Steering Committee. “Today, we are witnessing an important step in helping drum home the need for safer migration options and for the youth to take advantage of the opportunities the country offers. We should all own this campaign, as whole of government effort, through the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) but most importantly as a whole of society initiative,” she added.
The campaign aims to inspire a conversation about migration, online and offline in the communities. Returnees, their community members, and people who might consider irregular migration as an option, can share their own stories online using #LetsTalkMigration.
"The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is not only about helping people to have the possibility to come back, but also about accompanying them in their reintegration with initiatives such as vocational training and entrepreneurship support. The “No Place Like Home” campaign is a reminder that there are opportunities in Ghana and that the European Union is mobilised to create additional jobs. Migration should never be the only opportunity," said Diana Acconcia, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana.
The campaign will run for three months in migration-prone areas, including the Western, Western North, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti, as well as Greater Accra regions.
Since its launch in 2017, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration has allowed for 147 awareness raising sessions to take place in communities and schools across the country, while radio and TV broadcasts with similar messages have reached approximately 208,000 Ghanaians nationwide.