By G9ija

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says it has reached over 200 communities in Nigeria and no fewer than 25, 545 people sensitized on safe migration since the commencement of its community dialogue and community theatre initiative.

IOM also said it has trained 810 community leaders from Lagos, Edo and Delta state, who will, in turn, train others on safe migration.

Cyprine Cheptepkeny, the Awareness Raising Officer of IOM Nigeria, disclosed this during the launch of the community dialogue and community theatre manuals on irregular migration, trafficking in persons and smuggling in migrants on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The programme is designed to enable migrants and potential migrants to make an informed decision about their migratory journey.

While noting that the participants took part in refresher training exercises, she also revealed that 69 community dialogue roll out sessions have been conducted, reaching 1486 persons in Lagos, Edo and Delta State​ between March 2019 and Feb 2021.

According to her, 88% of persons interviewed during key informant interviews stated that the views of people in their community changed after the community dialogue sessions.

The manuals will provide guidance to key partners on how community-based actions such as using community dialogue and theatre can be used to promote home-grown solutions on traffic in persons, Frantz Celestin, the IOM Chief of Mission, said in a speech presented during the launching of the manuals.

“Since the inception of the joint initiative in April, IOM in collaboration with NAPTIP and NOA, has been engaged in implementing various awareness-raising activities in Nigeria designed to cause behavioural change among potential migrants and their families and friends.

“These interventions aim to improve access to trusted information sources and promote informed decision making by sensitizing potential migrants on regular migration options, vulnerabilities to TiP, and risks associated with irregular migration.

“The interventions are designed to highlight the opportunities that abound at home, foster social cohesion among migrants and their community members and encourage homegrown initiatives to indigenous problems,” he added.