IOM, UNICEF launch new DFID-funded project in The Gambia

Published Date: 
Thu, 08/30/2018

Banjul – The British High Commission, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday 28 August 2018 officially launched the regional programme, “Safety, Support and Solutions (SSS) in the Central Mediterranean,” through the organization of the first Steering Committee meeting for the SSS Programme at the British High Commissioner’s residence in The Gambia.

The Steering Committee will oversee the implementation of IOM’s “SSS Programme in the Central Mediterranean Route” and UNICEF’s programme on “Protecting Children on the Move in West and Central Africa from Violence, Abuse and Exploitation”.

The meeting was well attended, bringing together 18 members representing the following Government ministries and agencies: Department of Social Welfare, Gambia Bureau of Statistics, Gambia Immigration Department, The Gambia National Youth Council, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, and the Department of Community Development, including representatives from IOM, UNICEF and the British High Commission.

The SSS Programme is supported by the Government of the United Kingdom through the Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by IOM and UNICEF. IOM’s programme aims to provide protection, direct assistance and durable solutions to migrants across the Central Mediterranean Route, while UNICEF aims to improve the protection of children on the move by supporting the strengthening of the child protection system, and contributing towards reducing the risk of children and youth migration. These programmes will run until March 2020.

Specifically, IOM intends to enhance protection response through capacity building and development of evidence-based protection policy; enhance collective understandings of drivers, routes and profiles to inform targeted protection measures, safe alternatives and effective responses; empower communities to better understand the drivers leading youth to migrate irregularly and to identify solutions that can offer effective alternatives to irregular migration, in particular looking at livelihoods (and lack thereof) as a key driver of irregular migration decisions. UNICEF will focus on the strengthening of child protection systems and case management; the supporting of sustainable reintegration of children and youth migrants in their countries of origin; the delivery of awareness-raising activities targeting both children and communities affected by migration; and capacity building of service providers and community structures. The SSS Programme also envisages the implementation of peer-to-peer awareness raising campaigns on the dangers of irregular migration in their communities of origin, engaging communities, families, individuals, traditional and non-traditional authorities.

“Our aspiration for this programme is to see our partners working together to bring new, creative and flexible approaches to help address the migration challenges facing The Gambia,” said H.E. Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner.  The High Commissioner also emphasized the need to shift the negative image that has surfaced of irregular migration to the positive aspect of migration when it happens in a regular and safe manner.

IOM and UNICEF will work closely to support the Government of The Gambia to strengthen protection support to particularly vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrant children.

For more information, please contact Marianna Bertelle, at IOM Gambia; Tel: +2202169647, Email: mbertelle@iom.int

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