Gambia: launch of displacement tracking matrix (DTM) strengthens data on migration

Banjul – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in The Gambia, in collaboration with the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), to facilitate evidence-based decision making on governance of migration and meeting the needs of vulnerable migrants.

DTM is IOM’s information system that tracks and monitors population mobility – capturing, processing and disseminating information to better understand the movements and changing needs of people on the move in places of origin. , transit and destination. Since 2008, the DTM has been deployed in more than 80 countries around the world.

In recent years, Gambians have emigrated at a higher per capita rate than any other country in Africa. Between 2015 and 2020, more than 33,000 Gambians arrived in Europe irregularly, while more than 6,000 have voluntarily returned home since 2017 with IOM support.

Despite this, there are significant data gaps on migration in the country of 2.4 million people. Migration data has traditionally been collected inconsistently and seasonally. As a result, the full extent of migration remains uncertain, given the country’s very porous borders.

“Given the importance of migration for the social fabric of The Gambia, it is essential to have a more complete picture of mobility, in particular to improve the preparation and response to the needs of migrants”, emphasizes Stephen Matete , Head of IOM’s Immigration and Border Management Program in The Gambia. “Only when we understand who migrates, where and for what reasons can we design appropriate policies and interventions to better govern migration and promote the rights of migrants.”

The tool was tested in The Gambia from June 10-11, after 15 enumerators were trained in data collection. Four locations – Barra, Basse, Brikama and Farafenni – have been identified as Flow Control Points (FMPs), which will calculate quantitative estimates of migrant movements. The locations were selected to be high transit areas, following participatory mapping by stakeholders during a national consultation forum in November 2020 and a series of regional consultations in January 2021 with parties. local stakeholders.

The surveys will collect information on the demographics, social and economic profiles of migrants; history of journeys and routes; migratory motivations and intentions; and the impact of COVID-19 on mobility. In turn, DTM data will be useful for government, humanitarian and development actors to inform policy making, as well as to identify and respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants.

For The Gambia, this tool comes at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact mobility trends and with a resurgence of boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands. .

“The pandemic creates another layer of vulnerability for migrants. The surveys will thus help us understand how COVID-19 has shaped migration decisions and the nature of travel itself, ”adds Dr Simeonette De Asis, IOM Migration Health Officer in The Gambia. “In addition, reliable and high-quality data contributes to a better understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants, which can help address potential sources of tension and conflict. “

Data collection began on June 14 and will continue for an initial period of nine months.

This initiative is part of Strengthening the Sustainable and Holistic Reintegration of Returnees, a project funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and implemented by IOM in collaboration with the International Trade Center and the United Nations for the population.

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