For the first time in Senegal, TMP collaborated with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) to train 137 fishermen (or a member of their family) in alternatives such as poultry farming, sheep rearing and general entrepreneurship skills. TMP subsequently partnered with ICCO Cooperation (now Cordaid) to accompany those having undertaken the training to develop a strong business plan and seek funding via microfinance institutions.
The campaign ran from April to December 2021, and targeted two audiences, each with a demonstrated interest in migrating irregularly via the Canary Islands. The first audience consisted of educated male youths living in Dakar. The second audience, of young fishermen living in the Mbour department.
The campaign, run as part of The Migrant Project (TMP), Seefar’s global flagship migration communications campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the risks of irregular migration and empowering migrants to make safer migration decisions and explore alternatives, such as job and entrepreneurship opportunities in their home countries.
In addition to the livelihood trainings, the campaign successfully deployed an integrated approach to encourage more informed decision-making among potential migrants , combining online and social media outreach with community-based activities.
Evaluation data revealed that more than half of consultees were making safer and more informed migration decisions some time after receiving a consultation on the risks and realities of irregular migration. 82% showed improved understanding of the risks of irregular migration shortly after consultation, while 61% reported that they are considering safe and legal alternatives some time after consultation.
Online and media engagement was found to be highly effective in disseminating key information on the risks of irregular migration and possible alternatives, with over 400,000 post engagements on the campaign’s Facebook page – 126% over the initial campaign target.
Trusted, community-based counsellors spoke to 1,987 potential migrants who overwhelmingly found the consultations to be helpful (90%), relevant (93%) and trustworthy (94%).
The campaign was well received among the beneficiaries who indicate that TMP has had a positive impact on their communities:
“This year, the immigration rate has decreased in our community. This is all thanks to The Migrant Project. Every day the counselors come to educate the youth and guide them to find other occupations besides fishing. As the Wolof proverb says, ‘It is better to teach a person to fish than to offer him fish every day.’ This is what the counselors do, they help us to succeed in our lives when the sea is less fertile than usual,” a fisherman in Mbour said.
A fisherman and community leader in Pointe Sarène said: “I would like to thank the project for their magnificent work (…). We are all witnesses to the events that took place in 2020 at Pointe Sarène. (…) There is a very big difference between last year and this year. [Last year] about a hundred people suffered from irregular immigration at Sarene Point with 5 deaths and several injuries. This year, we note only one case of irregular immigration (…). This is thanks to the project because they were always on the ground raising awareness. They succeeded in their goal.”