New Central American Campaigns Combat Misinformation about Migration

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
10 November, 2020

Kevin’s dreams of being discovered by international recruiters ready to open the door to football glory outside of his native Guatemala seemed to be coming true. But should he trust these men who are offering fame and fortune? In Costa Rica, Isabel, a Nicaraguan single mother wants to regularize her migration status but keeps being told that it is nearly impossible.  Two very different real-life scenarios sharing a common challenge: the lack of clear, accessible information that allows them to make informed decisions. 


Two new IOM campaigns are attempting to do just that. “Think Twice” was presented online in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador on 22 October, two days after the launch of the virtual launch of “Mistakes by word of mouth", a campaign in Costa Rica.


In Costa Rica, IOM and the General Directorate of Migration (DGME) found the need to tackle community level word-of-mouth myths and prejudices about access to status regularization. “Many migrants are facing the consequences of decisions they made which were informed by misinformation spreading on social media,” said Leonard Doyle Head of IOM Communications.  “To help people make informed and safe migration choices we use peer-to-peer communications to spread among people trusted by their communities.”  


More than simple awareness-raising campaigns, IOM continues to implement Communication for Development (C4D) efforts, using the methodology used by IOMX’s well-established and successful participatory methodology, and adapted to the new contexts created by COVID-19. 


“For us, it’s very important to work together with IOM,” said DGME Director General Raquel Vargas. “Thanks to these initiatives, we can reach more people and communities who really need this information” Watch Videos Here.  


In Northern Central America, IOM baseline assessments showed that the uncertainty related to the context of the pandemic increases the risk of young people to fall into fake offers and information, and trafficking in persons or migrant smuggling. 


 “Dialogues between Heart and Head” was created jointly by organizations and youth from the communities. It is a series of six animated videos featuring young characters facing difficult decisions based on information they have received from impostors, including visa and fake job offers, among others. 


The centerpiece of the Dialogues campaign, the original song Pensalo 2 Veces performed by Max Méndez of Frigüey (El Salvador), Polache (Honduras) and El Tambor de la Tribu (Guatemala), reinforces the key message: "There are those who don’t mean well, be careful, they lie to you. / If you think something is not right, think twice"


As part of its commitment to a participative process developing the campaign, IOM performed 16 workshops with more than 120 local partners in the four countries to agree on the main goals of the campaigns. IOM also developed the materials through virtual camps and workshops with more than 200 participants, complementing these efforts with capacity-building courses directed at young people who joined the campaigns.  


“The fact that children, teenagers and youth are protagonists of these productions gave the IOM inputs to create communication campaigns that will really impact the target audience,” said 17-year-old Hermelinda Velazquez, who was part of the online event.


These campaigns will be distributed digitally through the end of the year. Their impact will be measured and, if needed, adaptations made in a next phase. "Somos Colmena” by IOMX is being implemented within the framework of IOM's Western Hemisphere Program. The project is generously funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. 


For more information, please contact Tatiana Chacón at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean,  Email: