“Neighbourhood Radios”, an Innovative Initiative for Exchange and Debate on Migration in Senegal

Published Date: 
Wed, 05/01/2019 - 08:00

Dakar – From 19 to 30 April, a series of radio programmes, exhibitions and debates bringing together community members, local leaders, families and returned migrants were held in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal.

The objective of this initiative, “Neighbourhood Radios”, is to give a voice to communities affected by irregular migration. It has been launched by the Government of Senegal and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Senegal as part of the information campaign on irregular migration, “Aware Migrants”.

“This is what we need here in Keur Massar: people who come to tell our youth that irregular migration is not the solution, that migrating does not mean you will succeed. One can make it at home and our youth can succeed by staying in Senegal,” said Yacine Maal, President of the “Bajenu Gokh”[1], during a “Neighbourhood Radio” debate.

Held in key lively quarters, these “Neighbourhood Radios” were first organized in markets, youth centres and other crowed public places frequented by young people and their families in some districts of Dakar (Keur Massar, Yeumbeul Nord and Yarakh). The initiative will be extended to other Senegalese cities such as Tambacounda and Kolda in May. Radio programmes are recorded in real time with communities and will later be broadcast on community radio stations and other private radio partners. They are produced and hosted by the journalist Codou Loume, an IOM Senegal partner, in charge of coordinating these “Neighbourhood Radios”.

Each event is followed by a visual art exhibition on migration that highlights the adversity experienced by migrants along the migration routes as well as messages of hope about the return and opportunities in the country. 

Afterwards, debates are organized with the viewers around the artistic works produced by a famous Senegalese visual artist, Bamba Diagne. The audience can then discuss taboo issues such as death or failed migration projects.

“The main problem for families and the community is that the migrant who manages to enter Europe does not always tell the reality of his or her experience to his or her relatives. For many of them, life was more comfortable in Senegal than in Europe. Thus, the family only calls them for material needs. In this situation, the family and community cannot know the realities of irregular migration”, says Moustapha Gueye, a returned migrant.

According to Marilena Crosato, IOM communications officer at IOM Senegal “this initiative aims to raise awareness among families and communities to get them understand the full extent of the risks and consequences of irregular migration through the stories shared by returned migrants engaged in this activity. It also provides an opportunity to hear the voice of communities on the root causes of this phenomenon and on the solutions that can be implemented at the community level and through civic engagement”.

This initiative was organized as part of the activities of the “Aware Migrants” information campaign, implemented by IOM and funded by the Italian Ministry of Interior, which aims to inform young people about the risks of irregular migration along the main routes in West and Central Africa.

Since it was launched in February 2018, “Aware Migrants” has produced 50 video stories in Italy; about 20 stories of returned migrants in Ghana, Senegal and Niger; 40 audio stories; 5 mini-documentaries. African artists such as Rokia Traoré, Coumba Gawlo, Kofi Kinaata, Big Makhou also participated in the project.

For more information, please contact Khady Ngom at IOM Senegal: Tel: +221 77 156 27 31, Email: kngom@iom.int


[1] Female leaders in the neighbourhood who acts as community advisers.