The political and economic instability in Africa, as well as the war-torn Middle East with the Syrian conflict are generating unprecedent mobility, with migrants increasingly moving towards Europe, too often through dangerous and deadly journeys across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea. In response to the challenges posed by irregular migration flows, the “Aware Migrants Information Campaign” was officially launched in 2016 under the funds of the Italian Ministry of Interior. Through the production of videos and testimonies of migrants arriving in Italy, revealing tragic stories of abuses and deaths, the Aware Migrants campaign aims at raising awareness among potential migrants on the risks they could face along the journey.
As of 2017, other European countries started to contribute to the campaign. In particular, the contribution of the German Federal Foreign Office allowed the launch of the second phase of the project: “Engaging West African Communities”. This phase, which for the moment is being implemented in Senegal, Ghana and Niger, builds on the previous one reinforcing the awareness-raising efforts and emphasizing the voices of the returnees who could provide and share their experiences with their home communities to prevent others from running the same risks.
The “Aware Migrants Information Campaign” aims at raising awareness on irregular migration along the main routes from East/Western Africa across the desert and the Mediterranean. To do this, it disseminates contents adopting innovative tools and a community-based approach. In particular, the project sets out on 4 main objectives:
1. Help potential migrants making informed decisions by warning them about the real dangers of the journey and the traffickers’ detached behavior regarding migrants’ safety and well-being throughout the crossing;
2. Properly inform the public opinion in countries of origin, transit and destination on the dramatic journey conditions for migrants, in order to raise awareness on migration crisis as being a universal humanitarian emergency;
3. Support community stabilization initiatives in countries of origin and promote information on positive alternatives, including socio-economic opportunities for youth in West African countries;
4. Give voice to returning migrants, who can become themselves communication agents and whose experiences can cut through the suspension of disbelief, common among potential migrants believing to succeed where others failed.
Watch the video I Remember: