The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has 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 provide a better understanding of the movements and changing needs of people on the move in places of need. 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 rate higher rate per capita than any other nation in Africa. Between 2015 and 2020, more than 33,000 Gambians arrived in Europe irregularly, while more than 6,000 have returned home voluntarily since 2017 with the support of IOM.
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 true scale of migration remains uncertain, given the country’s very porous borders.
“Given the importance of migration in 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”, stresses Stephen Matete , Manager of IOM’s Immigration and Border Management Program in The Gambia. “Only when we understand who is migrating 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 piloted 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 Monitoring Points (FMPs), which will calculate quantitative estimates of migrant movements. The locations were selected to be high transit areas, following participatory stakeholder mapping during a national consultation forum in November 2020 and a series of regional consultations in January 2021 with stakeholders local.
The surveys will collect information on the demographics, social and economic profiles of migrants; travel history and itineraries; migration motivations and intentions; and the impact of COVID-19 on mobility. In turn, DTM data will be useful to 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 an upsurge in 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 the journeys themselves,” adds Dr Simeonette De Asis, IOM Gambia Migration Health Officer. “Furthermore, reliable and quality data contributes to a better understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants, which can help address sources of potential 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 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 Population Fund.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) on Friday (June 4th) received a batch of valuable IT and media equipment for government information officers.
The material was donated to MOICI by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The equipment includes 30 sets of laptops, printer, tablet, voice recorder, data card, USB drive, wireless microphone, external storage device and projector.
The gesture is part of the project “Strengthening Communication on Migration in The Gambia”, a project jointly implemented by MOICI and IOM, aimed at strengthening the technical and communication capacities of information officers in order to enable them to communicate effectively on migration issues and to ensure that the government manages and integrates the governance of migration.
Upon receiving the items, during a handover ceremony held at the ministry, at the GRTS building, the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, praised IOM for its strong collaboration and commitment. towards the project.
He affirmed the willingness of the ministry and the government to put in place a solid framework for the governance of migration, to help create employment opportunities that would encourage young people, in particular, to stay and contribute to socio-economic development. from the country.
Miko Alazas, Media and Communications Officer at IOM, praised their strong partnership with MOICI and acknowledged the ministry’s commitment to migration management in the country.