Within the framework of the Khartoum Process, a Thematic Meeting on Awareness Raising Campaigns was organised on 19 – 20 June, in The Hague, Netherlands. The meeting, hosted by The Netherlands and co-hosted by Ethiopia, brought together representatives of Khartoum Process Member States as well as a wide range of practitioners working with INGOs, NGOs and social enterprises active in the field of migration management. The meeting was centered on the issues of impact and effectiveness of awareness raising campaigns and how do awareness raising campaigns fit in the broader context of policy coherence and whole of government approach to managing migration in countries of origin, transit, and destination.
Furthermore, the meeting aimed at taking stock of various types of awareness raising campaigns implemented by organisations such as UNHCR, IOM, Seefar and others, as well as Khartoum Process member states such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Germany or the UK, but also regionally within the African Union. Some of the key issues underlined during the meeting included:
- Successful awareness raising campaigns have generally been aimed at entire communities, rather than potential migrants only, while messages coming from trusted sources (such as family members, community leaders, celebrities and high profile individuals) are more likely to trigger a change in attitudes and, ultimately, in behaviours. The likelihood of success is further increased by a thorough understanding of the communication habits of the target audience and developing messages that take this into account, i.e in an accessible language, via an accessible medium etc.
- Monitoring and evaluation of past and ongoing campaigns are essential in understanding the impact of such campaigns and improving future efforts to raise awareness and prevent the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, with the caveat that it is often difficult to measure changes in attitudes and behaviours, as well as attributing change to specific interventions.
- Reliable data and evidence on irregular migration should be at the basis of every awareness raising campaign.
- The importance of integrating awareness raising campaigns within broader socio-economic development policies as well as directing potential migrants to legal migration pathways.
Throughout the thematic meeting, electronic opinion polling was used at different moments to enable the audience to express its opinion on specific aspects of the topic.
Moving forward, participants concluded that the topic deserves further exploration, particularly in terms of identifying ways of enhancing coordination and coherence, with the aim of maximising the cumulative impact of such efforts and prevent overlap and inconsistent messages.
Event photo gallery available here.
A meeting highlights video is available here.