The decision of whether to migrate or stay home is already a difficult choice to make. It involves needing to weigh the risks, the cost, and the emotional, communal, and familial impact of leaving home.
But what makes this decision even more complicated is that it is hard to find reliable information on migration. Instead, there is a wealth of misinformation circulating online and in communities. People often have trouble finding good information – and human traffickers and smugglers are eager to profit off of lies regarding migration by pushing for irregular migration and promising things they cannot deliver on.
But the opposite is also true: facts and access to proper information can save lives and prevent individuals from getting trapped in harmful, dangerous situations. Knowledge about migration empowers people to make better, safer, informed decisions. Knowledge saves lives – literally.
That is where the work of #MMN – the Migrant Media Network – comes in. #MMN is a project of the r0g_agency, a Berlin-based nonprofit, and is active in Ghana and The Gambia. #MMN works to create tools and processes that get information about migration to those communities most in need.
The tools #MMN has developed includes the #MMNApp, an app that works offline (once downloaded) and can be used to access information regarding decision making, goal setting, visa applications, studying abroad, the particular dangers faced by women in migration, and related topics.
#MMN also use the USSD system to make information available to those using regular phones, free of charge. The USSD system is well-known and widely used in these communities, making it an excellent tool to reach underserved communities.
#MMN also has created a guide, the Smart Migration Guide, that can be used by facilitators to host trainings in rural communities, where access to information is particularly sparse. Or it can be used by individuals as a reference guide. It is free to download and can be found here. The guide covers information (similar to that in the #MMNApp) and additionally includes discussion questions to help think through the materials and reinforce the need to fact-check and consider all aspects and consequences of migration before making a decision to migrate or not.
Another #MMN tool in the toolkit is the Think carefully, move safely board game. It is a game designed to help people discuss migration and rumors they have heard in connection with migration, while at the same time having fun and building community.
The game being played in The Gambia and presented in Ghana.
Players can choose to either attempt to migrate on the regular or irregular path. They then encounter scenarios that either set them back or help them to get ahead. Along the route, there are also fields marked by a question mark, in which all players read a Truth or Lie? card and discuss whether the statement on the card is true or false. The correct answer is then offered on the back. The statements were collected together with our local partners to ensure that they reflect the things people are most likely to hear in connection with migration.
The game allows people to interact with migration-related topics in a casual, fun way, all the while learning things about migration that will help keep them safer and help them make more informed decisions in the future.
To learn more about the #MMN project visit https://migrantmedia.network
The Migrant Media Network is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.