The Mesoamerica Program supports efforts made by the Workgroup on Comprehensive Protection for Children in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

28 July, 2017

Since March 2017, the Mesoamerica Program has had a permanent presence through a local partner, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-biggest city and an area characterized by having high migratory flows.

This new presence has allowed IOM to strengthen the local impact of the efforts of the Mesoamerica Program by responding more efficiently to local needs and helping to strengthen the existing dialogues on the coordination of migration issues; such as the integration of IOM into the Workgroup on Comprehensive Protection for Children and the Committee for Migrant and Displaced Children in the area.

Over the past five months, the program has taken part in meetings on planning, to identify needs, and coordination with local actors, as well as training conferences at the city’s educational centers aimed at informing the student community and raising their awareness of migration, the risks of irregular migration and the institutions that help migrant people in vulnerable situations.

Since April 2017, two talks have been held in schools reaching more than 300 students. One of the topics that has emerged during these activities is the need and interest in further organizing talks for parents and teachers in these schools to also inform them on migration issues.

"The International Organization for Migration has contributed enormously to strengthening the Workgroup on Comprehensive Protection for Children by providing technical details that have strengthened staff in institutions that take in migrant and displaced children," said Martha Reyes Lira, the Director for Women, Children and Families of the Municipality of San Pedro Sula, and a Coordinator for the protection Workgroup.

This issue is of great importance, especially as, in 2016, more than 59,000 unaccompanied migrant children arrived at the northern border with Mexico. During the first half of 2017, the Belen Center for the Assistance of Migrant Children and Families in San Pedro Sula helped 1,311 accompanied children and 864 unaccompanied children who were returned from Mexico and the United States of America by land and air.

The Mesoamerica program has also supported city authorities in providing information on migration by hiring Child Protection officers in Corinto on the border between Honduras and Guatemala, and by strengthening of the capabilities of key actors in the area encouraging them to partake in a series of workshops.