Boosting Young People’s Knowledge and Techniques on Regional Migration Issues
The majority of migrants from the region are young. That reality is why the IOM has held training workshops on migration and youth, in which more than 100 young people from the Mesoamerica region have taken part so far, to learn of the specific risks they and others their age face when migrating irregularly.
The workshops brought together officials from national government bodies, particularly migrant services, with youth organizations across the seven countries that make up the Mesoamerica region (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama) to raise awareness of migration issues and to improve approaches to them. The training helped lay the groundwork to elevate such issues into national policies on youth.
Especially valuable was the exchange of experiences and points of view.
For example, in Nicaragua’s border department of Chinandega, officials learned how to reinforce certain lines of migratory management while – for the first time – receiving input from young people, mostly youth community leaders. The young participants picked up best practices and techniques to help conduct the workshop for the institutions.
In El Salvador, in a June 23-24 workshop, young people from the Youth Units of the Office of the Attorney General for Human Rights made video and audio productions on how to prevent risks involved in irregular migration. These tools, and the underlying knowledge needed to develop them, enabled young people participating in protection and assistance to better understand the reality faced by young migrants. They can also enhance perspectives on human rights, gender and diversity.
Other young people from the Youth Units who previously received training are carrying what they learned into IOM "Migration and Youth" modules at the local level. They are also developing youth festival and other programs for International Youth Day, which notably will see one of the trained young people give a speech on migration issues to all local authorities from the department of Ahuachapán.
In Chiapas, Mexico, young people conducted workshops on theater, murals, sculptures and painting to sensitize the community to migration issues and boost knowledge in the area. A first Forum on Migration and Youth Awareness was organized by JUMI, a youth and migration group (made up of Initiatives for Human Development, the Ephemeral Theater, the IOM, and previously trained young members of the society), with the Mayan University in Tapachula. The Forum sought to raise awareness on migratory issues between the students and highlight the importance of young people’s ideas on the matter. It also allowed young people to explore topics addressed on the first day of the workshop through the creation and interpretation of theatre pieces that illustrate the migratory experiences of many children.
A workshop on Migration and Youth in Mexico City is going to be held in August to build on the Chiapas experience. Its goal is to facilitate an exchange of experiences between participants in the center of the country and those in the south.
In Costa Rica, IOM-led youth organizations participated in the "Forum for Inclusive Social Dialogue on Employment and Decent Work for Youth". This was the second in a series of five forums which aim to bring together different institutions and civil society organizations. Organized by Ministry of Labor and the Vice-Ministry for Youth, it developed inputs for the creation of an inclusive policy on decent employment for young people that includes migrants and LGBTI migrants. At the same time, the Youth without Borders Network initiated a cycle of conversations with the Vice-Ministry for Youth. The talks are open to the public and inspired by the content of the IOM Training Module. This month, young people were invited to discuss "People with international protection needs and victims of trafficking.”
These examples fully demonstrate the importance of working with this segment of the population on the topic of migration, and all the capacities IOM can bring to the table. The young people who took part in the workshops exemplified the interest in boosting knowledge in this area, and showcased the vibrant creativity and initiatives to communicate this knowledge to other young people.
This initiative is part of the Mesoamerica Program, implemented since 2010 with financial support of the United States Department of State.