Launch of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) strengthens data on migration in The Gambia

The International Organization for Migration (IMO) launched its travel tracking matrix (DTM) in The Gambia, in collaboration with the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), to facilitate evidence-based decision making on migration governance and meeting the needs of vulnerable migrants.

DTM is IMOinformation system which 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, 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 irregularly in Europe, while more than 6,000 have returned home voluntarily since 2017 with the support of IMO.

Despite this, there are significant data gaps on migration in a 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 , IMOResponsible for the immigration and border management program in The Gambia. “It is only when we understand who migrates, where and for what reasons that we can design appropriate policies and interventions to better govern migration and promote migrants’ rights.

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; motivations and intentions for migration; and the impact of COVID-19 on mobility. In turn, the DTM the 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 COVIDThe -19 pandemic continues to impact mobility trends and there is an upsurge in boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands.

“The pandemic creates another layer of vulnerability for migrants. Surveys will help us understand how COVID-19 shaped migration decisions and the nature of the trips themselves, ”adds Dr Simeonette De Asis, IMO‘s 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 tackle the sources of potential tensions and conflicts.

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 IMO in collaboration with the International Trade Center and the United Nations Population Fund.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IMO).

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IMO launched the Gambia Travel Tracking Matrix to better understand mobility trends. Photo: IMO 2021
International Organization for Migration (IOM)

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