Government in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union Delegation have launched a campaign dubbed ‘No Place Like Home’, to throw light on the dangers of illegal migration and provide hope for persons who are contemplating using illegal routes in travelling to migrate for survival.
Seeking greener pastures in the West has become a pipe-dream for many African youths because of the hopeless economic situation in which they find themselves in their home countries; and they will go to extreme lengths just to reach the shores of Europe in unsafe dinghies, most often at the peril of their lives.
As part of the measures, the Ministry of Interior is to embark on a nationwide multimedia campaign to provide accurate information on the dangers of illegal migration and encourage the youth not to risk their lives.
The campaign, supported by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration and funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, shares accurate information on the dangers of irregular migration and inspires the youth to look for opportunities in Ghana before embarking on a perilous journey.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on human mobility – hence many of the youths who would have embarked on such an adventure are compelled to remain at home.
On the other hand, the unfortunate aspect of the outbreak also means it is having an unprecedented impact on the livelihoods of millions of people across West Africa, including Ghana, which could lead to increased migration once the pandemic is over.
Sylvia Lopez-Ekra of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) believes campaigns like ‘No Place Like Home’ are crucial for preventing unnecessary suffering and loss of lives.
We believe it is a laudable initiative, particularly for our European counterparts who bear the brunt of these economic migrants – and hence are willing to dole out funds to retain such would-be migrants in gainful ventures at home.
However, our fear is that when such funds are received they are often diverted to other areas and thereby exacerbate the plight of unemployed youth who will stop at nothing to flee incessant poverty. Government must really channel those funds into capacity-building programmes for the youth to acquire employable skills.
If this is achieved, we will see less and less youths embark on such hazardous journeys to seek greener pastures abroad.