AMIF┋Engagement of diaspora communities on awareness raising
The EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (COM(2015)285) states that raising awareness of the risks of smuggling and of irregular migration is crucial for preventing prospective migrants and asylum seekers, including people in more vulnerable situations such as children, from embarking on hazardous journeys towards the EU. The Action Plan foresees the launch of information and awareness raising campaigns in key countries of origin or transit for migrants. It points to the importance of counter-narrative in the media to oppose misleading information provided by migrant smugglers, including through social media and with the involvement of diaspora communities in the EU.
The objective of the information and awareness raising campaigns and communication activities is to sensitise the target audience and to provide prospective migrants, vulnerable communities, diaspora members and local media with objective information about the perils of migrant smuggling and the legal, social and economic realities of life in Europe, as well as the available legal pathways to Europe. Ultimately, these campaigns seek to enable asylum seekers and migrants to make informed decisions about their movements and plans for the future.
A recent study published by the European Commission showed the important role the Diaspora in conveying messages and information about Europe and migration. Before departure, television influences the aspirations of potential migrants in the country of origin, while word of mouth communication with peers at home and in the diaspora in the EU assists in building plans and encourages moves. Migration plans are often, and perhaps understandably, modelled after the successful journeys of peers already in Europe, and the diaspora continues to be a trusted source of information on the journey. Many migrants seek out new contacts with compatriots based in Europe, predominantly via social media channels.
However, the study has also shown that migrants in the diaspora are unreliable interlocutors. The fast pace of change in transit and destination country policies and contexts, means that the journey and asylum application of one migrant can become unrecognisable just weeks later. Most pertinently, the difficulties irregular migrants face in the host countries are not known by migrants in transit. This seems to indicate that although a great majority of migrants are regularly in contact with the diaspora, they either receive inaccurate information or misinterpret it.
Against this background, the general objective of this action is to engage and empower diaspora communities in EU Member States in raising awareness on the risks of irregular migration and migrant smuggling, and on alternative legal pathways to Europe.
Applications that put forward activities targeting one of the following diasporas will be eligible for this call: Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria. Each application shall target a single diaspora community, which should be clearly indicated in the application form.
Concretely, the objectives of this priority are to:
- Engage with and empower the voice of diaspora communities in the EU in providing information and raising awareness to counter migrant smugglers' narratives on irregular migration and to inform about the opportunities of voluntary return and reintegration programmes
- Pilot diaspora-based communication campaigns and activities providing for accurate factual, trusted and balanced information on the risks of irregular migration and migrant smuggling, both during the journey (perils of the voyage when undertaken irregularly) and after arrival (hardships of living irregularly in the EU and return), as well as on alternative legal pathways to Europe
- Strengthen multi-stakeholder cooperation between actors such as local governments/councils, civil society organizations, private companies, and where relevant, third countries, on the best ways to engage with diaspora communities as bearers of information to their compatriots planning to come to Europe irregularly
The following actions and measures may be financed:
- Preparatory, fact-funding research to:
- map existing practices, methods and approaches in engaging with diaspora on the topic of prevention of irregular migration and migrant smuggling
- identify the target audience(s), its/their characteristic, motivations, information needs and gaps, and access to media and information sources
- identify communication channels that can be most effectively used by diaspora communities in raising awareness amongst (prospective) irregular migrants in countries of origin or transit
- Creation, production, implementation and dissemination of awareness-raising and information campaigns and activities engaging the diaspora communities in the EU, including by partnering with credible diaspora-based social media channels
- Monitoring and evaluation of the project to assess its results and to draft recommendations for future engagement with diaspora communities
The involvement of diaspora organisation is key to the successful implementation of this Priority. Applications, which focus only on capacity building for diaspora communities in the EU and in third countries, will not be considered for funding under this call.
The projects financed under this priority should achieve the following outcomes:
- Empower the voice of diasporas and strengthen their role as bearers of reliable information for their communities in third countries.
- Increase awareness among prospective migrants in origin and transit countries of the risks of irregular migration and migrant smuggling, on alternative legal pathways to Europe as well as about opportunities of voluntary return and reintegration programs
- Strengthen cooperation and share best practices among local authorities and other actors such as civil society organizations, private companies or third countries on the best ways to engage with diasporas in countering the smugglers narratives.
- Identification of most effective approaches to the engagement with diaspora communities in the EU, as well as lessons learnt and gaps for follow-up interventions